Juncos: On the Importance of Absence

courtesy Noel Zia Lee

courtesy Noel Zia Lee

In my second spring of actually writing down the birds I see, I’ve encountered a hole in my data. Dark-eyed juncos have been a steady and heavy presence all winter, first showing up in mid-October. But I was a slacker last March, so I don’t have data on when they leave. Through the winter, I typically have had at least five in the yard every morning. Yesterday, there were only two, today I’ve only spotted one.

Another sign of spring.


  1. I still have a few. I looked at my records and usually have them for most of March, though in 2008 a few stuck around for the first week of April.

    I record FOS, but it is tricky to try to record when they leave, as it is difficult to determine sometimes.

  2. The eBird reports show a steady decline in Bernalillo County beginning around March 1, with maybe half as many sightings by mid-March and most of them gone by early April. But a few seem to hang around all year. But not in my yard. Maybe they persist longer near the river? I’ve also seen them up in the mountains in summer, but one of the other races, not the Oregon.

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