Wait a minute my brain is slowly making connections...Juncos! Hello juncos, it's been awhile since I last saw you in mid-Michigan. Oh my, it's a nice flock this year.
Did you know that up to 70% of Juncos wintering in the southern U.S. are females? The juncos we see all winter in the Lansing area are typically males. They risk wintering in the northern states in order to be the first ones back in the spring to their breeding territory in the upper Michigan and Canadian.
Image by Stephen Little via FlickrThe Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis is a medium-sized sparrow with dark gray plumage on its head, breast and upper parts which contrast with the white, outer tail and white belly. The female and immature juncos are less slate colored and tend to be browner than the adult male.
They are often called “Snowbirds,” possibly due to the fact that they are more likely to visit feeding stations during snowy periods. Many people also believe their return from their northern breeding grounds foretells the return of cold and snowy weather. Another possible source of the nickname may be the white belly plumage and slate-colored back of the Junco, which has been described as “leaden skies above, snow below.”
Whatever the name you are welcome to join the rest of my hardy crew of birds that decided mid-Michigan was the best place to stay all winter. My feeders are clean and I just filled them with WBU No-Mess. Bon Appétit!