Friday, May 3, 2019

Oregon Junco

This juvenal Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco is a hard bird to identify. One reason is that this plumage is not illustrated well, if at all, in most field guides. I banded this bird on 30 April 2019 in our Olympia backyard. Its white out-tail feathers were strikingly evident. This plumage is similar to a streaky juvenal Chipping Sparrow, but juncos are presumed to be more closely related to Zonotrichia, the genus that includes White-throated Sparrows. Nolan et al. (2002) comment that relationships among sparrows are uncertain. The second photo is an adult, male Oregon Junco, banded on 7 April, one of the most common birds at our feeders.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised you found one in juvenal plumage in April. Do Oregons keep this plumage longer than Slate-coloreds? (I've never seen one in their southward migration in Minnesota.) Or does it imply that they breed earlier in the spring and this one hatched earlier in 2019?