Female Dark-eyed Junco – Ouachita Mountains

On March 28, 2016, I had the pleasure of photographing a female Dark-eyed Junco in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. These birds are incredibly abundant in the area, and I often spot them during winter hikes. They are also regular visitors to my feeders, although it can be challenging to capture them on a picturesque perch. More often than not, they prefer to feed on the ground underneath the feeder.

Dark-eyed Junco - Arkansas
Dark-eyed Junco – Arkansas

Dark-eyed Juncos are known for their distinctive plumage, which varies based on sex and region. The female I photographed has a more subdued appearance than the male, with a brown back and grayish head and breast. These birds are a type of sparrow and are often referred to as “snowbirds” due to their prevalence in winter months.

While they may not be as flashy as other birds, Dark-eyed Juncos are fascinating creatures. They have a unique behavior of “scratching” the ground to find food, which involves rapidly hopping and flapping their wings to uncover seeds and insects. Additionally, these birds are known for their distinctive trilling song, which can be heard throughout the forests and mountains where they live.

Photographing birds like the Dark-eyed Junco is a rewarding experience, and it requires patience and skill to capture them in their natural habitat. These birds are a reminder of the incredible diversity of wildlife that can be found in the Ouachita Mountains, and I look forward to capturing more images of these fascinating creatures in the future.

How I Got This Shot:

A flock of these birds were feeding in my yard. I had a small ground blind that I was sitting in. I was hand holding a Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with a Canon EF100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens attached.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Aperture f6.3
  • ISO 800
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec.
  •  Exposure Compensation: +1/3 EV
  • Focal Length: 400 mm