Mystery of the Dark Eyed Junco’s Solved

One of the nice surprises of the winter has been the appearance on our property of a flock of Dark Eyed Junco’s. After doing some research it seems that these birds are very loyal, as in once they make your property home good luck in getting rid of them!

Dark Eyed Junco Eating Holly Berries

They have been a lot of fun to watch. They swarm and communicate just like any busy family. I might even try to capture some video of this as pictures don’t do the interaction justice.

But then a funny thing happened. Last week, several of these birds mysteriously started to kamikaze into our windows. We couldn’t figure out what it was but came to the conclusion that the sun at this time of year must have put a funny reflection into the sliding doors and the birds thought they were flying to another tree. Mystery solved, or so we thought.
Dark Eyed Junco Landing on Feeder

Then over the weekend I was watching the activity at the feeders from the family room. All the birds seemed uneasy. In an instant they scattered and from over the house came a red tailed hawk. The hawk grabbed one of the Junco’s out of mid air, perched on a nearby tree, bit the head off of the Junco and flew away. So much for my “sun in a different part of the sky” theory. So it seems the birds were fleeing from the hawk when they hit the sliding doors.

As I am sure many of you have heard, the eastern U.S. is in the midst of a heavy snow storm.

Stone Wall Covered in Snow

Given that the Junco’s are black and gray, I am watching to see if the hawk uses the snow to help isolate some of the birds. So far no sign of the hawk.

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