[Tweeters] New Year's Morning and Junco questions

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Sun Jan 1 11:21:59 PST 2017

Possibly Pink-sided. There is a whole lot of molting going on. Had two yesterday with spreading black on the head, molting from a gray-brown. Fun to see all the differences.

Hal Michael
ucd880 at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----

Good morning all!

My top ten on this snowy morning were the usual flock of forest birds mobbing my feeder – Song Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Varied Thrush (just the one), Chestnut-Backed and Black-Capped Chickadees, a mob of Northern Flickers, American Crows, and a Downy Woodpecker. And a Douglas Squirrel. J

I was making a study of the juncos because, well, it’s a New Years morning kind of thing to do, and because one of them does not look like all the others. I am well aware of the M/F variation in our “usual” juncos, and this is not that. So by “usual” I am speaking of the Oregon Junco with pinkish-brown sides, brown back, and black or grey head. This one is not pictured in the books, so I am assuming it is either one of many subspecies of the Oregon Junco group not shown, or a hybrid of some kind.

It is a male with a dark black head and black eyes and pink bill. Its side wash, however, is grey – without a hint of pink or rufous. The sides and neck contrast with white underparts. The back is brown like an Oregon Junco, not grey like a Slate-colored. Whereas the “normal” juncos for around here have buffy wing tips that are visible at the base of their backs, this one has slightly more whitish tips (but not white wing bars like a White-winged). Any knowledgeable folks have thoughts on this?

I also have two distinctly different song sparrows – the ultra-dark one normally expected this time of year (I assume down from BC or Alaska) and a surprisingly light contrasty one (i.e., with a whiter base) than our local Song Sparrows. Not sure where that one is from.


Teresa Michelsen

Snoqualmie, WA

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