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Groggy dark-eyed junco receives care at PROWLS

Dark-eyed junco

FAMILIAR SIGHT: Flying at high speed, this dark-eyed junco crashed hard into a window and was knocked unconscious.

It was picked up by a human resident who called Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior. She arrived within a half hour to find the junco now conscious but groggy.

Back at PROWLS, favouring its shoulder and with a bleeding eye, it was given non-steroidal pain medication and placed in a small cage for comfort. Its abundant feathers had cushioned the small body, weighing about 20 grams, and it had sustained little lasting damage.

The bird was released 11 days later, delayed because of a cold spell. Juncos appear in Powell River in early winter, flashing their white tail feathers, and disappear in early spring as they move back into the brushy edges of mixed coniferous woods for breeding.

The male vocally encourages the female in her nest-building, which is often on the ground in a depression, but he only begins to physically help when the young are hatched. He then feeds them soft insects and seeds while carrying away their fecal sacs.

Hearing their trilled song is a delight when our days become shorter. When it sings, its whole body shivers.