Yellow-eyed Junco

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As I write today’s post the temperature in our yard is 116 degrees.  That is unimaginably hot, even by Tucson standards.  I hope that the temperatures normalize soon (“normal” for late June in this area would be about 103).  As things stand, going out and taking pictures is not only a waste of time, it could be fatal.  Fortunately, I have a reservoir of images to draw on and these include some more from my trip to Mt. Lemmon’s summit with Ned Harris last week.

Here’s another species that is unique to the higher elevations in the Tucson area.  This is a Yellow-eyed Junco.

This bird is predominately a Mexican species — an inhabitant of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains — whose range barely reaches into southern Arizona’s mountains, where it is a year-round resident.  It is found nowhere else in the United States.

It is a common sight on the upper slopes of Mt. Lemmon and nearby mountains.  Indeed, it is one of the most often seen birds in the pine forests near the Mt. Lemmon’s summit.  These highly attractive sparrow-size birds forage mostly on the ground, rooting around in pine straw and forest litter for edible items.

I love photographing them.  Those eyes are extremely photogenic, especially in the way that they contrast with the junco’s dark plumage.

Image made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 1000, f5.6 @ 1/1250.


3 responses to “Yellow-eyed Junco”

  1. Sue says :

    I can see each individual feather!
    Stay cool.

  2. Tom Munson says :

    Nice shot, Steve. That’s a bird I’d like to get. The only one I have seen was in Madera Canyon and I screwed up the image.

  3. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    The eyes are really attention-getters!

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