A personal portfolio
all photos & text by Don Roberson
all photos taken in California
DARK-EYED JUNCO Junco hyemalis
 16 Mar 1997 at
Pacific Grove MTY
"Oregon" Junco (above);
"Gray-headed" Junco (right)
14 Nov 1999 at
Pacific Grove MTY

The DARK-EYED JUNCO is a widespread breeder in montane coniferous woodlands throughout the state, and along the central California coast where summer fogs maintain cool coniferous woodlands such as on the Monterey Peninsula chaparral throughout the higher mountains of California. Some populations are resident (such as the subspecies pinosus, named for Pt. Pinos just blocks from my house) but those in the mountains are migratory. In winter, California is flooded with additional juncos from northern and eastern populations. Many are "Oregon Juncos" from western populations (including oreganus, montanus, shufeldti, and thurberi), "Pink-sided Juncos" (e.g., mearnsi) from the Great Basin winter in southeastern California, and the more northern or eastern "Slate-colored Junco" (races hyemalis and cismontanus) appears in small numbers in wintering junco flocks throughout the lowlands. "Gray-headed Juncos" (J. h. caniceps) breed in the White Mountains and elsewhere in isolated mountains of southeastern California, and are found in small numbers in winter in the deserts with a very few vagrants reaching the coast. The "White-winged Junco" (J. h. aikeni) of the Black Hills is strictly a rare vagrant any in California.

Dark-eyed Juncos nest in my yard and bring youngsters to the feeder each year. I've only extracted a few observations of scarcer subspecies below. I've had several apparently "pure" Slate-coloreds in my yard and elsewhere around town, plus various intergrades. The few listed below showed all the characters of "pure" individuals:

Slate-colored Junco
11/3/79    Deep Springs INY 2: male & female
12/31/81    Moonglow Dairy MTY 1 male
3/12/82    Elkhorn Slough Est. Res. Reserve MTY 1 male wintering
plus numerous others since them

Gray-headed Junco
5/17/75    Clark Mt. SBE 2 [nesting locale]
5/15/76    Clark Mt. SBE 7 [nesting locale]
3/5/78    Glamis IMP
11/24/78    Earp SBE 2 in flock that also had a “Pink-sided”
11/13/79    Schulman Grove INY 2  [nesting locale]
6/14/97    Clark Mt. SBE 1 [nesting locale]
11/14/99    Pacific Grove MTY 1 caniceps in our yard; very rare vagrant here; photo

White-winged Junco
2/24/01    Silver Spring, E of Laws INY    1 wintering stake-out; very rare in state; description in notes

See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text © 2002 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
Readers may use this material for their own private enjoyment, study, or research but none of the photos or text herein may be used commercially nor may they be reposted on other web sites without written permission. All material is copyrighted. The posting of photos and text on this private web site is not a submission to review organizations, including, but not limited to, the California Bird Record Committee. However, blanket permission for use of descriptions by North American Birds editors in their research is granted, and serious researchers in general are granted permission to use the records cited herein.






Page created 9 Feb 2002