Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dark-eyed Junco -Mistaken identity - this is a female Eastern Towhee - I'll be back to fix this post later

Sighted:   November 26, 2014

The Junco is a bird that has gone from four distinct species (Slate-colored, Oregon, White-winged, and grey-headed) to one - the Dark-eyed Junco (As opposed to the Yellow-eyed Junco).   From what I can gather,  they mate with each other freely and thus their plumage changes now and again.    Take for example this Dark-eyed Junco - it closely resembles the Oregon type, but its hood isn't as blackish as reference photos show me.  Perhaps it is a youngster - I don't know.  I feel it is too colorful to be a female.

An identifying mark is their bright white outer tail feathers which I captured in a photograph below.

I found this little fellow in a small mixed woodland bog garden.  He preferred foraging on the forest floor amongst the leaves and twigs.  As you can see, he blends right in.

For a sound recording, click HERE.

A poem I wrote that included this bird:

Late Autumn

High crimson has faded
to cadmium & ochre,
slashes of burnt umber
pirouette and plie a mirrored reflection

an image so lovely
even Narcissus would see
beauty beyond himself.

A dark eyed Junco hops along,
scratches, stirs soggy leaves,
rustles his way beneath graceful arms
of the bog's grand ballet

oblivious of solo performance
and his brief moment of fame.

by Margaret Bednar, December 9, 2014

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