Posted by: atowhee | February 29, 2012


February is not going out like a lamb, nor even a lion.  It is going out like a leopard, snow leopard to be precise. And in this sort of weather there is one bird I always expect to see in action. Little Junco hyemalis. That is our Junco of northern climes, a snow bird if ever there were. In my childhood in southern Missouri we rarely saw Juncos in winter EXCEPT when the ground was snow-covered. Then they appeared en masse at any feeder or scattering of chicken scratcn on the ground. So today the familiar sight of Juncos in snow. ‘Twas ever thus. The junco is a member in good standing of the New World sparrow family and his Latin name “hyemalis” derives from the word for winter, of course. “Junco” is the Latin name for a European seed-eater, the Reed Bunting, which looks nothing like our Juncos. His North American population exceeds even the human count, at well over half a billion individual juncos.

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