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Old 10-18-2008, 12:38 PM   #1
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Cold weather and birds

Winter must be near, I saw some Juncos , those black and white birds. Some people call them snowbirds.

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Old 10-18-2008, 12:46 PM   #2
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OH NO!! Not the Juncos (I call them "snowbirds" too - lol!)already!! Especially not coming on the heels of the weather announcement this morning that we're supposed to get our first frosts tomorrow night & Monday night. Normally we don't get the first frost hit until mid-November or so. I hope this isn't a portent of a bad winter. The last two have been pretty mild & we've become spoiled.

If the "snowbirds" are in PA now, it can only be a matter of days before they're here as well (if they're not already).
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:59 PM   #3
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Please don't depress me like that
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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They've been here for about 3 weeks now. Seems every year the flock gets bigger, too. Last winter there were literally hundreds of them in the tree in the yard, making quite the racket.
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:45 PM   #5
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Gee, I'm really surprised to hear that. Are you sure you're talking about "Slate-Colored Juncos"? Sparrow-sized slate-backed, snow-white-breasted males & greyish-brown white-breasted females?

Both back in NY & here in VA, Slate-Colored Juncos were & are very quiet nondescript little birds that travel in pairs or very small groups - not in flocks of hundreds. Plus, they're incapable of making a "racket". Their voice is a faint musical trill & an even fainter twitter when in flight. And in years & years of serious birdwatching, I've never seen them otherwise.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Starlings or another member of the blackbird family?
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:46 PM   #6
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my feeder has been full since beginning of September. I changed the food, cleaned the container, and called Wild Bird Sanctuary Was told they are eating natural food available. Should just wait and they will be back to feeding at the feeder again. Sure worried me that I could have done something wrong to have them ignore me. Talk about paranoid! I sure don't want the birds mad at me!!
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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We haven't seen the Juncos here yet. I've never really paid close attention, but I think they come in around the last of November, first of December. We always have quite a few, but they're not noisy at all.
The birds still have all kinds of berries and even bugs to eat on here...we won't feed them until about December.

What do you feed your birds, Kitchen? I always used sunflower seeds and cracked corn, but DH started buying the Wild Bird Feed. I thought my nuthatches had left, until he brought home sunflower seeds one day because they were out of the mixed feed. Lo and behold, here came the nuthatches and the downy woodpeckers!
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Gee, I'm really surprised to hear that. Are you sure you're talking about "Slate-Colored Juncos"? Sparrow-sized slate-backed, snow-white-breasted males & greyish-brown white-breasted females?

Both back in NY & here in VA, Slate-Colored Juncos were & are very quiet nondescript little birds that travel in pairs or very small groups - not in flocks of hundreds. Plus, they're incapable of making a "racket". Their voice is a faint musical trill & an even fainter twitter when in flight. And in years & years of serious birdwatching, I've never seen them otherwise.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Starlings or another member of the blackbird family?
gonna do a google search right now....
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Gee, I'm really surprised to hear that. Are you sure you're talking about "Slate-Colored Juncos"? Sparrow-sized slate-backed, snow-white-breasted males & greyish-brown white-breasted females?

Both back in NY & here in VA, Slate-Colored Juncos were & are very quiet nondescript little birds that travel in pairs or very small groups - not in flocks of hundreds. Plus, they're incapable of making a "racket". Their voice is a faint musical trill & an even fainter twitter when in flight. And in years & years of serious birdwatching, I've never seen them otherwise.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Starlings or another member of the blackbird family?
Indeed, after a google search, what I have are starlings, yet I always called them snow birds because they seemed to come right around the time it got cold. I do hate to be incorrect when naming something, so I must thank you for pointing me in the right direction. Now, these starlings...what a riot they are. They always remind me of Hitchcock.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:28 PM   #10
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Here in South Carolina (in Myrtle Beach anyway) "Snowbirds" are Canadians who come down for the warmer winter and spring weather! During the cold months you will even see "Welcome Snowbirds" on the hotel signs.

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Old 10-19-2008, 12:09 PM   #11
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Yup, Vera - Starlings can raise quite the racket, as can other blackbirds like Grackles, when they all get together. During the fall we sometimes get flocks that nearly blacken the sky, & yes, they do bring Hitchcock's "The Birds" to mind. Their jabbering can block out the sound of autos when a huge flock is roosting in the trees.

Around here Starlings are considered a year-round resident, although they do swarm in the spring & fall, & I imagine some do move on to & ultimately return from warmer climes.

I know that some folks don't like them, but boy are they industrious & omniverous feeders - always out working my lawn & pastures for insects & weed seeds. I don't mind having them around at all, & actually have raised a few "orphans" for release.

And on a brighter more interesting note, being related to the Mynah, Starlings are excellent mimics, & captive-raised birds have actually been taught to talk! In fact, I own a lovely little book called "Arnie The Darling Starling", a true story written by a Texas woman who found a little naked Starling orphan in her yard, & raised him in her home into a conversing wonder. If you ever come across this book, it's a cute heart-warming read.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Constance View Post
We haven't seen the Juncos here yet. I've never really paid close attention, but I think they come in around the last of November, first of December. We always have quite a few, but they're not noisy at all.
The birds still have all kinds of berries and even bugs to eat on here...we won't feed them until about December.

What do you feed your birds, Kitchen? I always used sunflower seeds and cracked corn, but DH started buying the Wild Bird Feed. I thought my nuthatches had left, until he brought home sunflower seeds one day because they were out of the mixed feed. Lo and behold, here came the nuthatches and the downy woodpeckers!
was always feeding white feed called safflour feed. Now switched to 'wild' feed and surprised to see one bird just now at the feeder. Guess it starts with one. Sure hope so. getting me worried, I don't want them to reject me.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:42 PM   #13
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Well, saw my first Junco this morning. I knew it wouldn't be long before they arrived here because I saw a small group of White-Throated Sparrows (another of our winter-only residents) on Monday.

So far this has been our coldest October since we moved here 11 years ago, so I'm not surprised. I am, however, not looking forward much to the next few months weather-wise. . . .
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