Dark-eyed Junco


Few birds are more beautiful (“precious”, my mother would say) than these “snow-birds”, an apt appellation long before Audubon captured their soft beauty with watercolors and pastels. Earlier this week the large weeping birch at the east end of Squire Valleevue Farm was occupied by the early migration of an enormous “murder” of crows and an even grander “murmuration” of starlings. With my approach, the syncopated chatter erupted into cacophonous cries as birds abandoned the tree in a burst, leaving behind a lone Junco, seemingly unperturbed and perfectly amenable to a few photographs.

I love the return of Juncos to our feeders each winter but rarely spot them roosting outside the neighborhood. I think the gentleness of the bird in this image is not unlike the soft texture of small birds Audubon painted with watercolors and pastels. See what you think.