Hello folks who wonder if the biggest threat to humanity today is the unregulated substitution of raisins for chocolate chips,

Chances are when you go birding on the trails, there is one bird that stands out like the starbucks of the birding world i.e. one on each corner. Presenting Dark-eyed Juncos.

Now I sense that you have two burning questions. So let me try my best to read and answer them.

Q. Why is it called a Dark-eyed Junco?
A. You see, it's cousin has yellow eyes and is called Yellow-eyed Junco and since this one has darker eyes, it earned the moniker Dark-eyed Junco.

Q. Can we talk about some other interesting birds other than this bird that nature bought from Costco i.e. in bulk?
A. No, because this l'il bird has a big part to play in how humans understood bird migrations.

The story begins in Canada in the 1920's when one biologist named William Rowan eating some poutine with maple syrup wondered how birds know when it is time to migrate. So he asked around and folks told him, it was because of the changes in the temperature that causes little switches to go off in the teeny-tiny brains of birds.
But Mr. Rowan had other ideas.

Mr. Rowan believed that it is the longer daylight hours as the Spring season approaches which triggers changes in the behavior of these birds and not the changes in temperature which causes them to fly north during spring. To test this theory, he captured Dark-eyed Juncos and kept them in 2 separate enclosures.

One enclosure had no changes, but the other enclosure had a lamp on after sunset to mimic longer daylight hours to mimic an approaching spring. After some time, he released both groups of birds in the middle of the winter and the experimental group flew north thinking spring has arrived and it is time to start the migration.

You know times are tough during the COVID-19 pandemic when birds that work the night shift are working the morning shift as well.

Black-crowned Night Herons are most active at night, but this one is working hard during the day to bring home the bacon, fish.

At first I thought, it made a fool of itself when it could simply snag a twig with the swift jab of its bill after the fish escaped.
But ya know most things like life and ice-cream, you truly enjoy it when you take it slow.
Here is a slow version of it catching the fish and we see it capture not one but two fishes. So even though one escaped, it still got to keep the 2nd one.

Here it is enjoying its hard-earned prize for lunch.

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