Yesterday I was visiting with someone and we ended up talking about natural history related projects. I was reminded of the project ideas page I created some time back on the wiki. I hadn’t thought about it in quite a while, so it was good to be reminded of the various ideas I had thought about previously.
One of the ideas that I especially like, and hope can happen sometime in the not too distant future is to do some study of Dark-eyed Juncos. Juncos are one of the most common winter birds here. In most years they’re easily the most common small songbird. Of the non-seabirds, it’s possible gulls and maybe crows or ravens can compete with them numbers-wise. In irruption years the siskins and crossbills are probably more numerous.
Starting in mid-to-late fall, they gather up in flocks and move around through the different neighborhoods, visiting feeders and such. I think they’re present outside of town also, but they are much less abundant there. There are several questions I think are of potential interest, that I think could be answered by doing some initial banding followed by reports from people in the community, especially those with feeders.
Some of the questions I am curious about:
How much do the junco flocks mix over the course of a winter?
How large an area does a given flock tend to cover, and is it the same area from day to day?
Where do the juncos go in summer? (more difficult to answer, probably)
Do the same birds come back to the same flocks and/or neighborhoods from year to year?
I have started a page for this project idea where more information will be added if/when this project moves forward.