4 Dark-Eyed Juncos

This gallery contains 4 photos. One of the most fun autumn birds I’ve had the opportunity to photograph, since first spotting them in the backyard in 2013. They battle constantly for food (even when there is plenty!), and theseground-based fights sometimes culminate into spectacular vertical aerial dogfights in a matter of seconds! Sometimes I think the Juncos toss seed out of the hanging feeders, just so they can pick it up off the ground. Photographed on September 27.

Dark-Eyed Junco (Slated-Colored)this guy was too busy foraging for fallen seed to care about how close I was to him.
f/11, 1/60, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 1600

The tri-coloured Oregon variety of these sparrows is what we normally see, but on two different occasions, we’ve seen a representative of the Slate-Coloured variety, too (and even the Pink-Sided variety — but that has only happened once). Photographed on September 27.

Dark-Eyed Junco (Slated-Colored)another male Dark-Eyed Junco, but of the Slate-coloured variety.
f/11, 1/60, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 1600

Bath time for Junco! This is a top-down view of one enjoying a bath in one of the upended garbage can lids that has been filled with rich topsoil. We have a proper birdbath, but they like “mudbaths” even more (for drinking and bathing)! Even with three such mudbaths set up, demand can lead to lineups, line jumpers, short tempers, and squabbles (bathers include Song Sparrows, House Finches, Black-Capped and Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Spotted Towhees, White-Crowned Sparrows, Golden-Crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and even Golden-Crowned Kinglets). Photographed on October 20.

Dark-Eyed JuncosThe blue/purple/green streaks are splashes of water that are tossed up as it bathes.
f/10, 1/10, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 1250

Lately, the Juncos have taken to raiding the suet feeder as well as the regular bird seed mix, nyjer, and sunflower seeds — leaving little or none for the Bushtits who swarm fleetingly in big flocks, the Black-Capped and Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, the Downy Woodpeckers, and the Northern Flickers. Sometimes the suet feeder needs to be replenished daily–but when 10-15 of these sparrows show up almost every day, you can see how that can happen! Photographed on October 18.

Dark-Eyed Juncosa female Dark-Eyed Junco (with a gray head) poses on a fruit tree branch.
f/8, 1/60, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 1600, flash on

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31 thoughts on “4 Dark-Eyed Juncos

  1. These photos are great! I love how crisp the feathers are and the eye contact. We have juncos on this side of the country too. I love photographing them. We have a tray with seed on it, and we put some on the ground, so they don’t fight much. They seem to get along with the other bird species too. Very nice shots, W.H.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thank you, Mary! there are at least 10 in the backyard right now, and they really have the run of the place! we put out another bowl of seed, and that seems to have reduced their combative instincts somewhat. 🙂 of course, the temperatures being below freezing today might also have some say in the matter. 😉


  2. Those are gorgeous Juncos! We have the Dark-eyed around here. That reminds me, have we talked about The Junco Project before? It’s research done by a professor here at Indiana University (where hubby teaches and older son goes to school). Pretty fascinating stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I swear some of these birds I’ve photographed love to have their photos taken. once, a leucistic mallard hen stopped eating and started posing for my camera once she noticed that I was snapping away. all the other members of her flock continued to eat, but she was content to offer me every conceivable angle for 5 minutes! 😀


  3. I think our Nova Scotia juncos may be different. i haven’t seen enough of them and others recently since we decided not to feed them due to squirrel and mice infiltrations especially this time of year. I miss them but see finches and chickadees etc. still flying around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • the East Coast ones are different –.and we also get the slate-coloured ones once in a while.

      we use a squirrel-resistant bird mix (ground chili pepper seeds are added), and this has proven to deter the rodents from taking advantage of the birdseed. we also hang our feeders to keep all (but the nocturnal flying squirrels, which we do hear and see at night!) from helping themselves.


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