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Dark-eyed Junco (White-winged)
Species, Date, Time and Location Information
Dark-eyed Junco (White-winged)
3/1/2015 8:00:00 AM
3/1/2015 8:30:00 AM
Duration (total time in view):
5 minutes in several 1 minute moments
at feeder in ponderosa, piñon,
5 - 15 feet
clear but overcast, bright due to snow cover
Description of the Bird
The junco was with mixed flock of other juncos (mostly gray headed, pink-sided, fewer oregon and only a couple slate-colored), cassin's finches, and rosy finches. Was observed from above on ground below feeder, on deck and on deck railing at eye level. Clear white greater coverts wingbar, less distinct lesser coverts wingbar evident. Similar on both sides of bird. Did not see in same view with slate-colored but seemed a bit lighter, definitely some contrast between dark at base of bill into lores and the rest of head. Was slightly larger than gray-headed and seemed slightly longer-tailed.
Gray-headed and pink-sided juncos showed aggressiveness (jumped toward the bird) when it came close. For a minute there was also a spotted towhee who showed similar aggressive behavior toward this bird. Similar behavior was not seen toward other juncos. Soon after these encounters the bird left the ground (where food was located) landed on railing (stayed long enough for photo) and then flew off beyond sight.
Similar Species Discussion
Plumage characteristics were most like Slate-colored juncos but the wingbars were clear and coloration on head not as darkly uniform.
I was aware of this subspecies and it's basic characteristics but checked Sibley, Nat'l Geo, and AOU/Cornell Birds of NA Online for additional confirmation. I purposely recorded the observational information before consulting these sources.
I have considerable experience with the other 4 subspecies as they visit the feeder here regularly. I previously lived and birded in Ohio where I was very familiar with variations in the Slate-colored. I have seen white-winged before in the Black Hills but have far less experience with this subspecies. I am well aware that any number of "hybrids" are possible. I've been birding more or less seriously for 35+ years.
Notes made AFTER observation
Date Documentation Submitted
3/1/2015 2:29:00 PM
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