Junco withdrawal

I miss the juncos. I see juncos around campus, but it’s not the same: they have no bands, so I don’t know who they are. (Except for the weird white-splattered junco, who doesn’t need bands to be distinctive. I was delighted to see him last week.)

I miss those warm, fragile bodies in my hand. I miss going back and finding them again and again.

NOLA

MIRA

MIRA again

I miss the mix of possibility and appalling vulnerability of nests and chicks.

Junco nest

Fuzzy junco chicks

Don’t look at me

I miss the other birds too, their astonishing variety of form and personality.

Stocky, calm Fox Sparrow

Tiny, defiant Wilson’s Warbler

Not bycatch, but a bird encounter anyway: Stella the confused fledgling Stellar’s Jay

This non-field-season time – a time for data analysis and planning – is what justifies my disturbing these birds at all. I don’t deserve to hold them, to stress them out that way, unless I make good use of the data I gather; and to do that I need to take a break from the birds themselves.

But I still miss them.

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5 thoughts on “Junco withdrawal

    • None of the labs that I’m affiliated with keep captive birds, but some others do. One lab raises starlings to study hormones and reproduction; another keeps hummingbirds, briefly, to videotape the motion of their wings, then releases them again.

  1. I go thru the same thing every summer. I am lucky enough to get to band close to year round in FL! I get sad on any day I don’t catch a bird!

  2. Pingback: The other juncos | Tough Little Birds

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