Oregon Junco aka Dark-eyed Junco

emberizidae Junco oregánus also Junco hyemalis oreganus

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The Oregon Junco can be found in western conifers year round. In the winter it can be found in farmyards and fields or on the edges of woodlands. (The Oregon Junco is found in the western part of the United States. A close relative is the Dark-Eyed Junco which can be found all across the country and Canada.) This bird can be found frequently in feeders. It eats seeds, bread crumbs, nuts and insects, caterpillars, sometimes catching insects right out of the air.

The Oregon Junco breeds in northwestern and mountain forests. The female and the male build a cup-like nest and raise two broods a year. The female incubates the eggs for 12-13 days. The young are fed by both parents for 10-13 days, before fledging. I was fortunate enough to observe a pair of Oregon Junco raise a brood outside my window in a hanging basket filled with fushias and ivy geraniums. Through the window, I observed the young with their mouths open showing fluorescent pinkish, orange mouths. It seemed like no time at all before they had left the nest.

Junco have a melodic trill. Their distress call is 'dit' followed by a snapping of their beak. You will hear this if you get too close to the next.

Pictured here is a male Oregon Junco. The female is much lighter in color (tan to brown) without the dark hood. The older males often winter together in flocks in higher elevations, while the females and juveniles stay at lower elevations.

by Martha Van Natta

Additional information: see Wikpedia - Dark-eyed_junco

- - Updated 12/27/2015
- - Updated 11/15/2015
- - Updated 2/07/2014