They Come Here

I love birds in winter. In Pennsylvania, certain birds migrate here just for the winter. Here? To our little Pennsylvania town? What’s there to see here? Well apparently, certain birds come here in winter, including the snowy owl!

Our local newspaper reported today how “the dark-eyed junco . . . fly here from Canada each fall by the millions — and that number is no exaggeration.”

Dark-Eyed Junco / Photo by Ken Thomas

Millions? That’s right–millions of dark-eyed junco fly in to see us for the fall and winter. They stay here till April. Just when I thought winter wouldn’t bring anything special in our neighborhood, nature delivers the biggest crowd. These “snowbirds” bring a sweet song and playful movement in our trees and around the feeder. They dance on the ground to stir up dirt and seeds.

The dark-eyed junco comes with an expression from birders to remind you of their arrival time: gray skies on top, white snow on bottom. That’s what they look like with their gray top feather and white underside. So when the sky is gray and the snow begins to fall, I know I’ll see the junco soon.

And guess where they’ve been? Not just Canada; some fly in from Alaska and even the Arctic Circle. These dark-eyed junco might just have spent their summer with the polar bears, arctic fox, caribou, and reindeer.

When I look at the dark-eyed junco, I’ll remember the vastness of our planet and far away places. I’ll remember how every season delivers unique gifts. Tomorrow morning, I’ll listen for the song of the dark-eyed junco which you can enjoy on this video:


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