Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dark-eyed Gray-headed Junco (#2)

A Dark-eyed Gray-headed Junco, Lily Pad lakes Trail, CO, 7-6-10.
A Junco that I had never before heard of until I captured it on a picture this summer in Colorado is the Dark-eyed Gray-headed Junco.  After the trip while scanning the images on my memory stick, I thought it looked juncoish, but wasn't sure of its identity until I looked up Juncoes in The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, and sure enough there he was (Above).  I feel lucky to have seen and photographed this little guy because these types of Juncoes are only found in a very limited range - in summer only in the Colorado and Northern New Mexico Rockies at 7,000' to treeline and into high altitude sections of Utah and Nevada.  In winter they migrate a bit south into Arizona, the southern half of New Mexico and the Mountains of Mexico.

Once I was able to identify this little fellah, I thought he looked similar to a pair of birds (Below) that I photographed on the Colorado trip (a couple of days later) that was in my "unknown bird" file.

Juvenile Dark-eyed Gray-headed Juncoes, Deer mountain Tr., Rocky Mountain Nat. Park; 7-8-10.
The spotty stripes on the flanks of these birds had me confused for some time, until I was able to determine that they were juvenile Dark-eyed Gray-headed Juncoes.  They have all the characteristics except for those unusual flank stripes.


Anonymous said...

Thank You...I got a picture of this guy too and had no idea what he was...You are becoming my favorite bird guide! :)

~Val said...

In the lower photo, the two are obviously the same kind, but one is more gray. Wonder if they are male/female?

jon said...

Yes, I am guessing that the bird in the forground is a female, but I havn't found photo research yet to substantiate that notion.