From Birding

Lifebirds #17 and #18 – Sweeping up the Yard


Species  Dark-eyed Junco / Junco hyemalis
Where Home, Little Canada, MN
When October 2003
Who Joann
Number 17

 
Dark-eyed JuncoJoann and I saw our first Dark-eyed Juncos and Fox Sparrows under our feeders in late October of 2003. We can count on seeing the juncos every year in our yard, and they often stick around through the winter. The Fox Sparrows probably stop by during migrations every year, though we are not always lucky enough to see them in our yard. When we do, though, it’s likely to be during the late fall, and often in the company of Dark-eyed Juncos.

Neither species comes to our feeders, but they sure love to scratch around for spilled seeds below them. The juncos hop around on the ground and mostly use their bills to pick through the litter to find food. The Fox Sparrows make good use of their feet to dig even deeper, and characteristically kick both feet together in one motion.

Both of the species are noted for their regional variations or subspecies. We see mostly the “slate-colored” subspecies of the junco here in Minnesota, and we see the “Oregon-sided” variety when we visit California. There are four distinct forms of the Fox Sparrow, and we’ve seen at least two of them (in Minnesota and Washington state). A future split of one or both of these species is always a possibility (free lifers!).

Species  Fox Sparrow / Passerella iliaca
Where Home, Little Canada, MN
When October 2003
Who Joann
Number 18

 
Fox Sparrow

See lifebird index.