The Friary Juncos

by Carl Strang

This has been a very slow winter for birds at Mayslake Forest Preserve. The main exception has been a flock of dark-eyed juncos that has taken residence at the former friary site. The area grew a lot of annuals in the late summer and fall, including a number of weedy species, as well as oats.

The juncos most often are to be found around the edge of the site, especially here where the garden used to be.

The seeds from those annuals are keeping these gray sparrows going through the winter. There are enough of them that I doubt that my counts have ever been complete. The high count, in December, was 19. That is many more juncos than I have found on this preserve in previous years.

This week, when I took this photo, I counted 17.

Juncos tend to establish winter home ranges and stick with them, so I expect to see this flock for several weeks, yet.

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