Oregon Junco

male Oregon Junco

Here’s another local woodland cutie, a male Oregon Junco (Junco oreganus), actually a medium-sized sparrow that is commonly seen both around woodlands and in the garden throughout North America. I captured this image in a local wooded area. Females are similarly colored but with a paler head. Some populations migrate north for breeding while others are resident in their territories year-round. I find it interesting that these resident populations can have shorter wings than their migrating relatives. They seem to be quite long-lived, the oldest recorded individual was apparently over 11 years old.

Juncos are ground birds, not only feeding off the ground but usually nesting at or near ground level as well. They’re generally seed-eaters but will eat small insects during breeding season. When foraging, Juncos typically hop (rather than walk) on the ground, pecking or scratching at the leaf litter, or flit very low in underbrush gleaning food from twigs and leaves. They sometimes fly up from the ground to catch insects from tree trunks. Flight is very agile as the bird maneuvers through its tangled habitat. Male juncos are very territorial in summer, chasing off intruders in rapid flights accompanied by excited call notes. When males court females, they fan or flick open their wings and tail, hop up and down, and pick up pieces of nest material or moss; females seem to prefer males that show more white in the tail. Juncos often forage with other sparrows and bluebirds.

Text derived from http://www.allaboutbirds.org

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14 thoughts on “Oregon Junco

  1. Love your photo and processing. When I was backpacking a section of the Appalachian Trail I came across a Junco nest on the ground. If I hadn’t noticed the mom fly up above and fuss at me I’d have never noticed the nest with her eggs in it. She did all she could to distract me away from it.

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