Snow Birds – Dark-eyed Juncos

Pale male Dark-eyed Junco, Oregon racePale male Dark-eyed Junco, Oregon race – Nikon D810, f10, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

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.


  1. Elephant's Child November 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you for the introduction to a bird I will probably never see. Feathered enchantment.

  2. Utahbooklover November 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Nice image of a winter favorite of mine. Used to see them a lot until I moved to the flatlands of Brigham City. Must check out Farmington Bay sometime.

  3. CS November 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Beautiful photo, one of our favorite birds that we used to see in other states but not here in AZ much.

  4. SkyHawker4 November 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Love those Juncos! Watch them when up in the foothills and fishing.
    They crowd around in the parking areas foraging in the parking stones.
    Totally handsome birds!

  5. Stu November 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Perfect Photo. He looks an organized guy this Junco. I don’t think I have ever seen one either.

Comments are closed.