The Wildlife Of Mt. Lemmon — Yellow-eyed Junco

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If you travel to Mt. Lemmon’s summit this time of year the bird that you are most likely to see is the Yellow-eyed Junco.  These sparrow-like birds seem to be everywhere: foraging in the woodlands and hanging out near bird feeders in the hamlet of Summerhaven at the top of the mountain.  They are attractive little birds, with their bright yellow eyes.

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These birds are relatively fearless in the presence of humans and, thus, fairly easy to photograph.  They often travel in small flocks.  This time of year one sees them at all stages of development; adults, like the bird pictured above; juveniles, like the one shown immediately below; and fledgling birds in the company of their parents.

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The juvenile bird is distinguished from an adult by its spotted breast and the absence of a solid gray cap.

I was amused to watch this fledgling pester its parent for food.  The exasperated expression on the adult bird’s face speaks volumes. I could easily imagine it wondering whether that kid would ever grow up.

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These birds are so common on Mt. Lemmon right now that one can take them for granted.  But, although common on this mountain and on nearby peaks, they are virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the United States.  Southern Arizona is at the extreme northern edge of the Yellow-eyed Junco’s range.  So, if you happen to be on Mt. Lemmon or a nearby peak and see one of these birds, enjoy watching something special.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm f4-5.6 ISII zoom lens, ISOs, apertures, and shutter speeds varied.

One response to “The Wildlife Of Mt. Lemmon — Yellow-eyed Junco”

  1. Tom Munson says :

    This is a bird I’d like to get good. I shot one years ago in Madera Canyon that I’m not happy with.

    Nice work, Steve.

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