Birds of Barrington, Birds of Barrington Illinois, Nature & Wildlife, The List Year to Date, Things to Do, Wildlife

337. Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | ‘Tis the Season for Snowbirds

337. Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | ‘Tis the Season for Snowbirds

Home Newsroom 337. Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | ‘Tis the Season for Snowbirds

A fair number of Barringtonians head south for winter months, joining other northern “snowbirds” in places with warmer winter climates. But Barrington is also the destination for some avian snowbirds — the nickname for dark-eyed juncos.

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

I always look for juncos around the first week in October. This year, I saw several along our driveway on September 26. They are easy to spot from a distance with their flashy white outer tail feathers. When a small, dark bird flies from the ground and its most conspicuous marking is those white tail feathers, it’s almost sure to be a dark-eyed junco. And usually there is more than one.

Juncos breed in boreal forests across North America. They appear in our area only during winter months when they gather and travel in flocks. Often they are one of the most numerous species counted on the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Members of the sparrow family, juncos come in a variety of colorations ranging from the Oregon juncos with black heads to the pink-sided in the Southwest. The type found in our area is the slate-colored junco, a bird that is sooty gray on its head, breast, and back and white on its underside. Like most juncos, it has a pinkish bill.

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

My first encounter with juncos occurred years ago at a bird feeder outside the dining room window. Juncos will eat most small seeds in commercial bird seed mixes and they come readily to feeders, often preferring to scavenge on the ground. When alarmed or simply ready to leave, the flash of their white tail feathers as they fly immediately divulges their identity.

Vocalization is not a strong point of juncos. Their “song,” if it can be called that, is a short trill that strikes me as somewhat metallic, though it has a bit more musicality than the trill of a chipping sparrow. Rarely do juncos sing in winter. But come March and April, as they prepare to return to nesting grounds in northern coniferous woods, their trill notes often ring out in contrast to the songs of bluebirds and meadowlarks just arriving from the south.

If you maintain a bird feeder, and even if you don’t, keep an eye out for these striking winter visitors. They will be with us only for a season. When our snowbird friends who have wintered in Florida return to Barrington for the summer, their avian counterparts, the juncos, will be on their way north, not to appear in Barrington until the following autumn and winter.

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

………………………………………………………

About the Author

Wendy Paulson has lived in Barrington Hills since 1975, and has led bird walks in the area for many years. She re-established the Nature Lady program in District 220 and St. Anne’s in the late 70s, under the auspices of The Garden Club and Little Garden Club of Barrington.

Wendy Paulson
Wendy Paulson

Wendy developed the education program for Citizens for Conservation, initiated and edited its newsletter, and has been an active volunteer with CFC for over 30 years.

During interludes in New York City and Washington, DC, she taught classes about birds in the public schools and is helping to develop a similar program in Chicago public schools with Openlands.

She has a regular schedule of bird walks in the Barrington area sponsored by Citizens for Conservation and Audubon Chicago Region.

Wendy is chairman of The Bobolink Foundation, serves on the board or advisory committee of multiple conservation and bird-related organizations, both domestic and international, and is former chairman of IL and NY chapters of The Nature Conservancy.

She and her husband Hank have two grown children and are avid hikers, cyclists, and kayakers.

Wendy Paulson is a regular contributor at 365Barrington.com sharing profiles of birds found in the Barrington area. CLICK HERE to read all of Wendy’s posts published in our Birds of Barrington series and watch for her next contribution which will be published on the first of the month.

Do you have a question about birds you’ve seen in Barrington? Just enter you question in the comments box for this post and your question will go straight to Wendy!

There are no comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Barrington Today

365Barrington Partners

From the Community

We're feeling happy this Inauguration Day - #Day20of365 here in Barrington! By the end of the day, we'll have a new president.

*What are your thoughts about this day in our history?*

We'd love to include your responses in a story we're working on for later today.

In the meantime, find our song of the day plus stories from January 19th in Barrington history TODAY at 365Barrington.com @365Barrington #LinkInBio (https://wp.me/p1NGbX-1eAv) or at BarringtonDaily.com 🌞#365Barrington #BarringtonDaily #ThisDayInBarringtonHistory
...

3 0

Getting married is the celebration of your love story, and even during these uncertain times, we don’t think your wedding should have to wait. ✨

Join BWH on Saturday, February 13 at 11 am for a virtual open house of beautiful, historic mansion perfect for weddings & private events ✨ Register for free today and be entered to win two Bride & Groom champagne glasses 🥂 #BarringtonsWhiteHouse #WhereHappilyEverAfterBegins (📸: tjarosphotography)
...

24 1

Luby Group Listings

$330,000
1,294
SQFT
113 S Cook Street Barrington, IL 60010
Commercial For Sale
- Active

Retail storefront in prime pedestrian location in downtown Barrington surrounded by Village shopping, restaurants, and steps to the Metra train station. Great opportunity to own a high visibility space, currently vacant, ready for you to move in and

New Listing - 6 days online
$829,900
4
BED
5
TOTAL BATHS
109 Hillshire Drive Barrington, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- Active

NOW A BRAND NEW HOUSE! ALMOST NOTHING UNTOUCHED! FRESHLY PAINTED THROUGHOUT, AND NOW WITH BEAUTIFUL WHITE TRIM! And that's not all....New carpet, newly refinished hardwood floors, brand new appliances, and freshly painted beautiful white kitchen cabi

New Listing - a week online
$375,000
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
250 Florence Avenue Inverness, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- Pending

Welcome to 250 Florence Avenue in beautiful Inverness. Situated on approximately 3/4-acre corner lot, this lovingly maintained home is a sprawling 4-bedroom, 2.1 bathroom with an attached 4 car garage, and an immaculate unfinished basement. An abunda

New Listing - 2 weeks online
$160,000
0.52
ACRES
COOK
COUNTY
1100 Prairie Avenue Barrington, IL 60010
Land For Sale
- Active

Great opportunity to build your dream home on a half acre in Barrington right down the street from Baker Lake and Ron Beese Park. Located just over a mile south of downtown Barrington, this rare waterfront location is a few blocks away from award-wi

Newsletter