Juncos in a Spring Storm

Today I will offer something cheerful and happy. We had one of those late spring snowfalls so common here at the 51st parallel. You just can’t have April here without having at least one heavy snowfall. In fact, it’s not all that uncommon to get a snowfall in May, though not every year.

Just before the snow fell a huge flock of hundreds of juncos ended up in town. Most places in Canada have a resident flock of these charming little birds. Each spring and fall we get a brief burst of huge flocks of migrating juncos on their way back to their summer homes in the boreal forest to the north. These migrating juncos will normally find and congregate around human habitations during a spring snowstorm. They know we are good for a warm sheltered spot by our houses and there’s a good probability of a free meal while they visit. My bird feeder needed to be filled every day while they were here but I enjoyed their company so I didn’t mind. During the night the juncos hid themselves right next to our house foundation on the south side where they were sheltered from the wind. I could tell because of the thousands of little footprints in the snow. As the snow melted, the size of the flock dwindled and today there is maybe a dozen or so juncos. I have also seen some chipping sparrows who have arrived a bit earlier than usual. The birds don’t care about covid19. They cheered me immeasurably during this period of being locked down. Misty was less impressed. To her the birds were potential invaders to be driven off. The birds just stayed outside the fence and ignored her.


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