Thursday, January 17, 2002

We've got the first cold stretch of weather this winter now, with calm winds and clear skies and heavy frost at night. Typically we get fog and cloud building in over night, but it seems pretty clear in the morning. Good thing I finally planted my daffodils last week!

We're invaded by Dark-eyed Juncos right now, which are the real signs of winter. They are coming and eating off of a cardboard tube coated in peanut butter and seeds that Aine and I made. I think I started seeing them fluttering around here in October, and they will stay through to March or so when they head north again.

Juncos have really interesting behaviour. In the winter, they flock together and stick to an area of about 12 acres. The same birds retrun to the same place year after year, so the Juncos we have here now will be back next year too. Juncos are also pretty particular about their pecking order and the dominant males are always chasing the others away from the feeder. They put on quite a display flashing their white tail feathers and flapping their wings.

At night they roost together. I don't know where our flock goes but it would be a decent field project to follow them one evening and find out.

In other bird news I heard a redwinged blackbird the other day which is really strange. They rarely come around here in the winter, although I wonder if the recent warm weather had something to do with this one pitching up in Deep Bay.

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