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Dark-eyed Junco
November 30, 2020 by Haya Aldoori

On a chilly mid-october wander through OURspace, just in the spot where the wooden fence meets Butterfly Hill, we were pleasantly surprised by the early return to a familiar little bird. With their pink beaks, dark grayish feathers, and white bellies, the Dark-eyed Juncos are back in High Park, looking for seeds and other tasty bird treats on the ground.

Photo by Andrew Yee

Dark-eyed Juncos are migratory and will fly south for the winter when it gets too cold in their summer breeding grounds. During this time, they can move in flocks numbering from a handful to 30 or more individuals! For the many migratory birds of High Park, southern Ontario is usually a stopover site or that summer breeding ground, which gets too cold, leading them to fly to the United States (southern) or Mexico. However, in the case of Dark-eyed Juncos, the area of High Park and southern Ontario is actually part of their wintering grounds! This means that Dark-eyed Juncos leave Northern Canada and Alaska to come all the way here for their warm winter vacation!

Keep an eye out for Dark-eyed Juncos on your next chilly visit to High Park!

FUN FACTS:

-Dark-eyed Juncos prefer to move through the forest by hopping around on the forest floor. They can spend as much as 65% of their time on the ground!

-Dark-eyed Juncos are susceptible to nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds.

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