29 October 2015
Fall is well advanced now and as the following pictures from our backyard show most of the leaves are off the trees. Yesterday we had driving rain and today the wind is quite fierce so the combination of the two might just denude them completely.
Dark-eyed Juncos Junco hyemalis returned to the area a couple of weeks ago and have been constantly in our yard ever since.
Juncos seem to have a charm all of their own and we always look forward to sharing our space with them. At times when they are feeding on the ground, seemingly undisturbed by anything, they suddenly burst into flight and zoom off revealing the flash of white outer tail feathers so characteristic of this bird.
For the most part they seem quite content to forage on the ground, kicking up the leaves to garner whatever morsels are hidden below.
There are various subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco and females are quite distinct, so it is always fun to scan and see what can be found. Some individuals can be easily identified. One year we had a bird whose white outer tail feathers were much more prominent than others, and we called him Flash. He stayed with us right through the winter until the birds moved out the following spring.
Although this species feeds mainly on the ground some of the birds become very adept at utilizing the feeders, but they are in the minority. This individual is a striking male.
This morning a boldly coloured male Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis was feeding with the juncos, but in their sombre greys they did not seem to suffer by comparison. It's a great addition to any backyad.