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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dark-eyed Juncos have arrived from the "Boreal Forest"

The Junco that has just arrived in north Texas for the winter was probably born in the Boreal Forest. The "Boreal Forest" is a big chunk of southern Canada (and a tiny bit of the U.S.). Unfortunately there's a lot of "tar sand" there too,  which is being excavated. The forest is the birthplace of 3 to 5 billion birds each year - many spending fall and winter in Texas, like Juncos.

There are several regional kinds of Junco. But by far the most common, and the only one abundant in north Texas, is the Dark-eyed Junco (it has black around the eyes, of course).  All kinds are botanically identical.

Bad weather (whether rain, cold, wind or ice) means that birds seek shelter - a place to "roost".  Birds roost at night too, whatever the weather. Ground-feeding birds such as Juncos, roost temporarily in tall prairie grasses or low shrubs.  Shrub-nesting species like Cardinals and Mockingbirds, roost in dense, evergreen shrubs.  Cavity-nesters like Titmice and Chickadees may roost in an old nest or unused birdhouse Almost all birds like to roost in a brushpile* (old tree limbs and branches) you've built. 

 *If you want to find out more about brushpiles, and how to build one,
 just send me an e-mail

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