When I lived in Virginia I could almost predict when the first snow would fall because the Juncos showed at my feeders up a day or two before the first winter storm. My mom and I always call them snow birds because of that. Back east the only juncos I saw were the “Slate-colored” race and I adored hearing them as as flock would descend to eat the food the other birds knocked to the ground.
Here in Utah I don’t depend on the Juncos to clue me in on the first winter snow because I see them most of the year though in the warmer months I only see them in the high country. They still gather on the ground below the bird feeders but the race I see here most often is from the Oregon group and their calls are slightly different.
This pale male Dark-eyed Junco was photographed at Farmington Bay’s Goose Egg Island which isn’t an island at all but was one during back in the mid 80’s due to the flooding of the Great Salt Lake. The rocks and soil of Goose Egg Island were actually hauled to Farmington Bay after a mudslide in a nearby canyon and when the flooding reached Farmington Bay geese used the island to nest on. When the flood waters receded the island became a hill that now has a few trees on the north side of it where raptors like to perch and the smaller birds feed on the seeds of other vegetation.
I wanted to share this western junco with my Mom because she hasn’t seen them.
Life is good.
Click here for a little history on Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.