Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
December 2018                                                                                          Volume 12.18
Nature News
Bird of the Month


Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis
Dark-eyed Juncos are neat, even flashy little sparrows that flit about forest floors of the western mountains and Canada, then flood the rest of North America for winter. They're easy to recognize by their sharp markings and the bright white tail feathers. The Junco is a medium-sized sparrow with a rounded head, a short, stout bill and a fairly long, conspicuous tail. Juncos vary across the country, but in general they're dark gray or brown birds brightened up by a pink bill and white outer tail feathers that periodically flash open, particularly in flight.
Dark-eyed Juncos are birds of the ground. They can be found hopping around the bases of trees and shrubs in forests or venture out onto lawns looking for fallen seeds. You'll often hear their high chip notes while foraging, or intensifying as they take short, low flights through the vegetation. They are primarily seed-eaters, with seeds of chickweed, buckwheat, sorrel, and the like making up about 75% of their year-round diet. At bird feeders they seem to prefer millet over sunflower seeds. During the breeding season, Dark-eyed Juncos also eat insects including beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and flies.
Female Juncos build the nests, using her beak to weave together materials and her body to give the nest its shape. Nests can be quite variable depending on where they are built. Sometimes ground nests get just a fine lining of grasses or pine needles. Other nests may be built on a foundation of twigs, leaves and moss, then lined with grasses, ferns, rootlets, hair, and fine pieces of moss. The nests usually take 3-7 days to build. It's rare for a junco to reuse a nest.
One of the most abundant forest birds of North America, in Reno & surrounding areas you'll see Juncos on woodland walks as well as in flocks at your feeders or on the ground beneath them. The Dark-eyed Junco is one of the most common birds in North America and can be found across the continent, from Alaska to Mexico, from California to New York. A recent estimate set the Junco's total population at approximately 630 million individuals.
For more information on Dark-eyed Juncos, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations: 1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks.
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks
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Upcoming Events

Lahontan Audubon Society
Tuesday, December 11  6:00pm
LAS Board meeting

Friday, December 14  
7:00am  CBC - Fallon, NV
7:00am  CBC - Sierra Valley
8:00am Field Trip - Silver Saddle Ranch, Carson City

Saturday, December 15
7:00am  CBC - Elko
7:00am  CBC - Truckee Meadows
7:00am CBC- American Valley, Quincy, CA

Sunday, December 16  
7:00am  CBC - Carson City, NV
8:00am  CBC - South Lake Tahoe

Tuesday, December 18
7:30am  CBC - Snake Valley

Wednesday, December 19
7:00am  CBC - Hart Mountain Refuge, OR

Thursday, December 20
7:00am  CBC - Ely, NV

Friday, December 21
7:00am  CBC - Honey Lake, CA
8:00am  CBC - Sheldon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge

Tahoe Institute of Natural Science

Sun Dec 02 @ 9:30AM - 01:00PM
Fri Dec 07 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
December TBY Outing

Fri Dec 14 @ 7:00PM - 10:00PM
Austin Quattlebaum Live at Dark Horse (Fundraiser)

Sun Dec 16 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Christmas Bird Count
Go to Tinsweb website for full list of outings 

Nature Happenings

* Project FeederWatch continues, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
* Christmas Bird Count is this month, birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count
* Watch for Bald Eagles along the rivers.
* Beaver mating season.
* Rather than search for worms in the frozen soil, large winter flocks of robins will visit fruit trees for food.
* Cedar Waxwings will visit yards in search of fruit, often staying for hours before moving on.
* Juncos will hunt for fallen seed, often before dawn.
* The smaller the bird, the earlier its hunt for food in the winter darkness.
* In preparation of the earliest nesting period of any bird (late-January through February), Great Horned Owls can be heard hooting at night in courtship.
* Now through late March is a difficult time for birds; providing food and an open source of water is important.
* Winter is a great time to look for birds' nests. Admire the craftsmanship, but leave the nest in place.
* Geminid Meteor Shower is mid-month.

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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509