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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

The Chestnut-backed Chickadee pictured last week was nicely perched on the branch of a tree since that is where they are usually seen. Today's bird is on the walkway since these birds, the Dark-eyed Juncos, prefer to forage on the ground. Apparently ornithologists are still sorting out bird taxonomy and though I have formerly identified these local residents as Oregon Juncos, it seems that the latter refers to a sub-species and our local birds may or may not be members of that sub-species since there is a great deal of variation within the genus. In any case I always like to see these neat, busy little birds no matter what they are called.


Paul in Powell River said...

With that colouring it's a virtual certainty that you have a male Oregon Junco.

Benjamin Madison said...

Hi Paul - I agree but although Wikipedia is not written in stone, I have deferred to their uncertainty - "There is an unresolved debate whether this large and distinct group [the various Oregon Junco sub-species] is not better treated as a full species."

Paul in Powell River said...

Well, yes, Wikipedia. Get yourself a good bird book. I'd recommend the Sibley Guide to Birds, top of my list.