Saturday, January 10, 2009

The White Junco

Just a few months ago my wife was talking with a man at her work about this blog. The Gentleman is Allan Jones who lives in Thurston County, Washington. Allan had mentioned he had a female Dark-Eyed Junco nesting in his Fuchsia basket that appeared to be an albino. This bird had successfully raised a brood of normal colored offspring. Allen was very kind to share his photographs with us and granted his permission to post them in this blog.

Although this bird appears to be white it is not an albino, it is leucistic. In a previous blog entry I talked about a Crow and Red Tailed Hawk that each had coloration that varied from the norm but neither were as extreme as this bird.

Here are some pictures of female Oregon Dark-Eyed Juncos I have taken for comparison.

I am not sure if this is a male or a female. It might be a juvenile male?

Here are some pictures of male Oregon Dark-Eyed Juncos I have taken.

Well....that was a lot of little birds. The more they look the same, the more they differ.

Dark-eyed Juncos are a species of small sparrow that is wide spread through out North America. There are six populations that vary in color and size through out their range. Here in the Puget Sound area we have the Oregon Dark-Eyed Junco.

Juncos are plentiful and easily to drawn to a backyard feeder. One of the first things you will notice when you start looking at Juncos is that they are difficult to see at all. They are always moving and cryptic in color. This along with the shady and brushy areas they prefer, usually all you get to see is a flash of white on the tails of fast moving Juncos. They are not know for their enchanting songs. They emit a variety of thin tweets, trills and chirps.

When you gain the knack of seeing them, especially up close, you see that they are very social with an active pecking order. Then you will notice that even with the color differences between the males and females there are color differences between individual birds. Then just as you think you have a handle on the colors you find that there are subtle differences as the seasons change. This just makes it more interesting watching these little birds

In any case I have never seen a Junco with the color variation the Allan Jones has had the great fortune to find nesting in his Fuchsia. How exciting and thank you Allan Jones for sharing this with us.

Keep your eyes open for the odd balls
Take care.