The total junco count for my field site scouting last week was… one. Where were the juncos?
I suspect that they weren’t yet there. Juncos seem to winter at low elevations, then migrate to higher elevations as the weather improves enough to permit breeding. I wasn’t sure exactly when this would happen—that’s why I was scouting. Given that there was frost on the ground, leaves were just emerging from buds, and the bluebirds were collecting nesting material, it doesn’t surprise me that the junco breeding season was not yet in full swing.
This is actually great for me. My field assistants are undergraduates and don’t get out of school for another few weeks. If the juncos haven’t yet arrived, then it looks like by the time they start defending territories, attracting mates, and generally doing interesting things, my field assistants will be free and I’ll be at full researchy strength.