After mentioning my local mutant junco here several times, I figured I owed you a photo, so I went stalking him today. In searching for him I also found lots of normal-looking juncos. I did eventually find my white-splashed bird, so read on to see this unusual junco – after first admiring the regular juncos, because every junco is awesome.
And here’s the white-patched guy. He sang here last year too. I’ve been watching for other white-patched juncos, hoping that he might have passed his funny looks on to his chicks, but so far I’ve never seen any.
Some of them seem to need their toenails cut–or do they need extra nails for holding on to larger branches? Do you often find a single bird with odd coloring, or is it very rare? (Maybe it’s rare for someone to be watching that closely!)
Haha – I think long toenails are useful for gripping perches. Juncos probably have more worn-down nails than many other birds, since juncos spend an appreciable amount of time on the ground.
A few of the juncos I banded last summer had very minor color abnormalities (photos here: https://toughlittlebirds.com/2012/07/04/soma-mani-nola-funny-colored-juncos/) that you would never have noticed if you didn’t have the bird in hand. I’ve never seen a junco with as obvious color abnormalities as this guy, but other people have (e.g. http://deerledge.blogspot.com/2007/03/partial-albino-junco.html and http://birdmandea.blogspot.com/2009/01/white-junco.html). Certainly people walk past my odd guy every day without noticing, but anyone with a passing knowledge of birds would probably notice.
It’s so great how you love each bird. They are so sweet. I have photos of a mutant junco, actually I would call it deformed. How can I get them to you?
Now you’ve got me all excited! Can you email the photos to me? I’m at email@example.com.
Make sure you check out this link: http://juanvelascoblog.com/2013/02/15/the-quest-to-find-all-birds-of-paradise/
Thanks for the recommendation, that was awesome! I’ve been following the birds of paradise project but hadn’t seen this before – fascinating to see how they arrange the graphics. Nat Geo always is beautiful.
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