This morning I saw my first Junco!
It’s a realization that cold weather is here to stay for a while when the juncos arrive in late autumn.
The Slate-Colored Junco, Junco hyemalis, is a cute little bird that flies down from Canada to spend the winter in the lower 48. Whitish chests, beaks and outer tail feathers are quite noticeable on this little sparrow-sized bird.
Males are dark, slate-colored and the females are a duller, brown color. The lack of eye rings or wing bars make them appear black and white or brown and white.
We usually see a group hopping around on the ground looking for food, but once in a while one will visit the bird feeders. I especially like their “junco shuffle”, the way they hop forward and scooch backward to move around the fallen leaves in search of a morsel.
The Juncos fly back north for their spring breeding season, and so, when the juncos disappear in the springtime we know our flowers will soon be blooming!