The Bluebird Diaries – Day 19 (April 8, 2012)

Today was a much calmer day for our bluebirds, especially the male who spent a good part of yesterday defending his nest from various threats. Though they have not produced any eggs yet, they were showing some … ummm … amorous signs today. If I can find a way to delicately discuss it, I will speak some day about avian reproduction. It’s not like … ummm … yours. 🙂

Male Bluebird

We’ve noticed evening time is when the most sparrows and cowbirds drop by. Although I’d rather them not be around at all, evenings give us the opportunity to “help” when we can. There are two schools of thought on this. School #1: Don’t help them, they need to either succeed or fail on their own. School #2: We provided the house, we need to do what we can to keep them safe. This is what we believe. But we do realize we can’t be here for every sparrow and we can’t prevent every stressor. Nature will indeed take its course, as it always does. But we will help however we can.

Today we’ll talk a little bit about the Dark Eyed Junco since they won’t be around much longer this spring. They spend their breeding months in Canada, migrating southward into the US during the winter. They should be gone for the year before long.

Dark Eyed Junco

The junco is a very common winter bird and is easy to identify by its white belly. The correct pronunciation is like “junk’-oh” (junk rhyming with trunk) but for years we mistakenly said it like “june’-koh” (june rhyming with moon) so that’s what we call them even though it’s incorrect. We like our name better! 🙂

Dark eyed Junco

Male and female juncos are similar except the female is paler. Their dark parts aren’t quite as dark as the male’s and their white parts aren’t quite as white.

Junco

Juncos prefer to eat on the ground (though they will visit feeders) and the have a cute little habit of scratching the ground with both feet to uncover seeds and insects to eat.

01/13/12 - Dark Eyed Junco

We love these little birds, they’re among our very favorites. We’re excited to see them arrive in the fall and sorry to see them leave each spring.

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