Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. February 9, 1919. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 54(19): 8-E. A bird editorial.

Too Warm for Juncos.

Open winters furnished strange phenomena in birddom, as previously remarked.

The presence of summer birds is not the only unusual feature - the absence of some of the zero gentry making still a more striking contrast with a normal season.

For instance, there is the Slate Colored Junco, called Snowbird by many, and erroneously - that is generally found in great flocks in this part of the country during the winter months, but which have become decidedly rare since our warm January.

These Juncos live on weed seed almost entirely, but spend a great deal of their leisure time in the evergreen groves when these are available. Juncoes and Tree Sparrows are almost as common in the winter as Robins in the summer, but at present the former are very hard to find. The Tree Sparrows seem to have remained, in small groups, but just a week ago today not a single Junco was seen by amateur ornithologists on their Sunday hike.

The answer is very plain.

Unseasonably warm weather does not agree with the Junco, and so he moves up north a few hundred miles, to find something he likes. By the same token, when the mercury struck the zero mark so often last year, these winter birds went a bit further south.

It must be a wonderful thing to have wings enabling one to chase around the country in search of the exact temperature one likes!

But it has been a bit cooler during the pst week, and maybe the Juncos will come south again.

Let us watch.