[CT Birds] Junco movements

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Wed Mar 31 10:39:57 EDT 2010

Yesterday I counted 21 White throated Sparrow under and near my feeding station here in Harwinton. The most I have ever counted. All winter I have had no more than 8 or less at a time. I presume these added birds seen today are comprised of mostly new incoming northern migrants.

Also noted are many less JUNCO to date. The peak this winter here was 72, of which most did spend the winter here in my Harwinton yard. Of these birds, as many as 95% were males. Beginning in March, the numbers of Junco began to reduce, and the numbers of females increased as the male numbers reduced. Today, I counted only 10 Junco of which just one was a male. 

This supports the theory, male junco tend to winter much further north than females. I presume the steady decrease of males I counted in March here, is the result of these males moving north to find and defend breeding territories before the females arrive at a later date. Though Junco nesting territory starts just a short distance from my feeders here in Harwinton, my brother, who lives in West Hartland has them nesting up there as a common species. He also has had mostly males throughout the winter there at his feeders, with no change yet in the increase of females.

 Of note:  West Hartland still has some pockets of snow still on the ground. 
I wonder if the loss of snow might be the key to starting the juncos northern movements? 

Paul Carrier

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