March 3, 2019
| Dark-eyed Junco by Gary Mueller |
For the third season in a row, Cornell Lab and our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited are rewarding registered FeederWatchers with BirdSpotter prizes. After entering bird counts (aka data) into the FeederWatch website, participants have the opportunity to share a story, memory, or tip. Our fourth and final Data Entry contest prompt was:
What’s your favorite bird to see at your feeders? Do you wait all season for a glimpse of it, or does it come every day? Share with us what makes that species so special to see at your feeders!
Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Vanni Prichard of Missouri! Vanni wrote this descriptive piece about Dark-eyed Juncos:
The Dark-eyed Junco is the bird that I delight most in seeing at our feeder stations. Its arrival in the fall signals a new season of winter bird-watching enjoyment. Regardless of the size of the flock, each little junco with its short pink bill, slate gray body & white belly, seems to mind its own business as it goes about foraging the ground for insects and stray seeds or sitting in a flat feeder taking advantage of an easily accessible spread.
At the first hint of a predator, off they all fly with a flash of white outer tail feathers as their gray bodies disappear into the safety of nearby trees. When danger abates, here comes one, then another and another until the flock gathers once again to resume feasting. When snow arrives and it is particularly cold, the juncos can be found perched on a limb or in a bush, all puffed up in a cute ball of gray and white feathers, their pink bill a contrast to their gray heads.
The Dark-eyed Juncos are a joy to watch each winter, so when spring knocks on the door and the juncos begin their departure north, a tinge of sadness hits. The sadness is fleeting, though, for it is tempered by the fact that they will return again someday. In the meantime, spring’s arrival is an indicator that other migratory birds with their own delightful characteristics will be on their way soon.
Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their stories this season! Vote for the Grand Prize winner in our BirdSpotter Photo contest happening now! Visit our BirdSpotter Homepage for more information and to vote!