Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dark-Eyed Junco

Juncos that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate to the southern United States in winter.   It's strange that I hadn't seen one until the day these photos were taken on December 12th.    I took care not to get too close because I didn't want to scare him away.  

When foraging, Dark-eyed Juncos typically hop (rather than walk) on the ground, pecking or scratching at the leaf litter, or flit very low in underbrush gleaning food from twigs and leaves. They sometimes fly up from the ground to catch insects from tree trunks.   Dark-eyed Juncos are primarily seed-eaters, with seeds of chickweed, buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, and the like making up about 75% of their year-round diet. At feeders they seem to prefer millet over sunflower seeds. During the breeding season, Dark-eyed Juncos also eat insects including beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and flies.

During winter, Dark-eyed Juncos form fairly large flocks, and where wintering ranges overlap you may find several subspecies in a single flock. Juncos also forage with other sparrows and bluebirds. Junco flocks typically have a hierarchy or pecking order, and earlier arrivals tend to rank higher in the group than later arrivals.

Such pretty little birds.  I hope to see more of them in the future.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Backyard Goldfinches

Good morning everyone!  I had been watching the news about the winter blizzard that crippled parts of the mid-Atlantic- what a mess it left.  I feel for any of you who may be having to cope with that.  I can't imagine having to literally dig out from 2 feet of snow.  We didn't even get a few flakes here. Our weather is crazy- in the mid to upper 60's for a day or two, then dropping to the 30's and 40's, back and forth, from cold to warm.  That means we maintain a mixed wardrobe in our closets because our weather can change considerably fast.  

One of the few things I like about winter is the return of migrating birds, such as the American Goldfinch.  A large number of them are taking advantage of the feeders filled with a variety of seeds. They favor nyger and sunflower seeds, but will eat the finch food as well.  Chipping Sparrows and Pine Siskins have also returned for the winter.  My back yard has become a popular hang out for these groups.  Unfortunately, a local hawk has discovered that as well.  I spotted him (or her) swooping down and trying to snatch one of the little birds yesterday.  I know the hawk has to eat too, but I wish it would go elsewhere.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday.  Try to stay warm!  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!
May yours be filled with many joyful moments and precious memories!