Date: 3/12/21 3:36 pm From: Hugh Ranson <zonetail...> Subject: [sbcobirding] Local interest: juncos and Purple Finches
I've lived in the same house on the Westside of Santa Barbara for 25 years, and in that time I'd only recorded Purple Finch 3 times, in 2007, 2010, and 2014. They seem to be very rare anywhere on the Westside. A few weeks ago I took my feeders down because of sick siskins and began spreading seed on the ground instead. In mid-February a female-type Purple Finch arrived and was joined by another a couple of days later. Every few days the number increased, and now a daily group of 10 or so birds comes in and out of the yard. I hear them calling and singing in the trees when they're not on the ground. I have seen 8 female-types at a time, and there are two adult males (one has a distinctive pale spot on his nape) that accompany them, but never at the same time. It will be interesting to see how long the finches stick around.
Over the years there are other birds that have moved into the neighborhood. White-breasted Nuthatch used to be a scarce visitor, but now they are quite frequent. My second yard record of Dark-eyed Junco didn't appear until 2012, and they were still very scarce until two or three years ago. Last year a pair brought their fledglings to the yard, and this year there are two males singing from the tree tops.. I think I've read elsewhere about juncos moving into more urban areas.