The Snow Bird

Dark-eyed Junco aka "Snow Bird"

This little bird is often called the Snow Bird because it is reported to come to southern climates ahead of the winter snows.  I’ve had an abundance of them at my feeders this winter and this week’s ice, sleet and snow storms created a perfect landscape to showcase it’s reputation. These birds are very adept at scratching through snow to find seed and this little guy is barely visible from its spot inside one of my footprints in the snow.

The bird is now known as the Dark-eyed Junco. But during the late 18th and early 19th centuries when John James Audubon was describing and painting the birds of North America, it really was called the Common Snow-Bird. I’m not yet sure when or why the name was changed (I’ll do some research) but many birds’ names from centuries past were changed in the last century to more closely match the same (or similar) species in Europe.

The Dark-eyed Juncos are found across the county in different races, based on plummage or location.  This very snowy little bird is a slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco.  I’m excited to have several Oregon race juncos in my yard this year — a rare bird for me to see.  I’ve been busy taking pictures of the birds in the snow and will add an Oregon one later to compare the plummage.

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