juncos nesting on man-made structures


Gjon Hazard
 

Yesterday, at San Dieguito Co. Park, I encountered a pair of Dark-eyed (Oregon) Juncos apparently building a nest off the ground on a man-made structure. This was a new one on me.



Looking into it a bit more, I found that I am behind the times. This emerging behavior has been noted "back east," locally at UCSD, in Los Angeles, and elsewhere.  


Los Angeles -- Bressler et al. 2020 [abstract available w/o subscription]: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rspb.2020.2122


Birds of the World/Birds of North America species account (Nolan et al. 2002) [subscription]: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/daejun/cur/breeding#nestsite

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Gjon Hazard 
Encinitas 


Stan Walens
 

All,

The coastal “resident” population of juncos in San Diego has been heavily studied by the distinguished biologists Ellen Ketterson and Jonathan Atwell, from Indiana University.  Ellen has studied juncos throughout the U.S. for many decades, specializing in genetics and in the biology of mate-selection.

The first pair of summer-resident juncos was found by my 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, at 3:40 p.m. on July 5, 1983. I can still remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad, juncos!” and my reply “Rachel, there are no juncos here in the summer,” after which she self-assuredly, and self-righteously, corrected my to-her egregious error by pointing out a pair, male and female, to me.

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

I really recommend one watches the film, and even more, reads the monograph. They provide an incredible sense of what goes into learning about a bird species scientifically, and how complex bird biology, ethology, and genetics are.You’ll never look at junco as just a junco again.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 10, 2021; 6:25 pm







Lisa Ruby
 

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is available online:

https://vimeo.com/user3004053

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

On 5/10/2021 6:29 PM, Stan Walens wrote:
All,

The coastal “resident” population of juncos in San Diego has been heavily studied by the distinguished biologists Ellen Ketterson and Jonathan Atwell, from Indiana University.  Ellen has studied juncos throughout the U.S. for many decades, specializing in genetics and in the biology of mate-selection.

The first pair of summer-resident juncos was found by my 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, at 3:40 p.m. on July 5, 1983. I can still remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad, juncos!” and my reply “Rachel, there are no juncos here in the summer,” after which she self-assuredly, and self-righteously, corrected my to-her egregious error by pointing out a pair, male and female, to me.

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

I really recommend one watches the film, and even more, reads the monograph. They provide an incredible sense of what goes into learning about a bird species scientifically, and how complex bird biology, ethology, and genetics are.You’ll never look at junco as just a junco again.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 10, 2021; 6:25 pm








--
Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs


Philip Unitt
 

Dear friends,

 

The junco becomes more extraordinary every year. The paper to which Gjon Hazard sent the link, by Bressler et al. comparing the juncos nesting at UCLA to those nesting at UCSD, is well worth reading. I bet that if the comparison was made to juncos nesting in San Diego today, though, there would be no difference. I suspect the difference is due to adaptation over 20 years rather than between the two sites. The paper suggests that the junco has developed some special attraction to college campuses, but I suspect that’s just because biologists tend to hang out around such campuses. Allow me here to advance the hypothesis that the junco has developed a special attraction to multi-story buildings. The increase of the population around San Diego has really accelerated this year. On some days this spring I have heard as many as three individuals singing just along my morning bike ride from my house in Hillcrest to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Several more in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood and even two among tall buildings with only a few trees between them in downtown San Diego. But not so much (yet) in neighborhoods with just single-story houses, even though they have more vegetation. The paper by Bressler et al. reports that the success of nests placed in novel situations on buildings is greater than that of nests placed in traditional situations on the ground. Evolution is happening faster than we can grasp.

 

Good birding,

 

Philip Unitt

San Diego

 

From: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io [mailto:SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io] On Behalf Of Lisa Ruby via groups.io
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2021 7:43 PM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] juncos nesting on man-made structures

 

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is available online:

https://vimeo.com/user3004053

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

On 5/10/2021 6:29 PM, Stan Walens wrote:

All,

 

The coastal “resident” population of juncos in San Diego has been heavily studied by the distinguished biologists Ellen Ketterson and Jonathan Atwell, from Indiana University.  Ellen has studied juncos throughout the U.S. for many decades, specializing in genetics and in the biology of mate-selection.

 

The first pair of summer-resident juncos was found by my 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, at 3:40 p.m. on July 5, 1983. I can still remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad, juncos!” and my reply “Rachel, there are no juncos here in the summer,” after which she self-assuredly, and self-righteously, corrected my to-her egregious error by pointing out a pair, male and female, to me.

 

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

 

I really recommend one watches the film, and even more, reads the monograph. They provide an incredible sense of what goes into learning about a bird species scientifically, and how complex bird biology, ethology, and genetics are.You’ll never look at junco as just a junco again.

 

Stan Walens, San Diego

May 10, 2021; 6:25 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com


--
Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs


John Walters
 


On 5/10/2021 6:29 PM, Stan Walens wrote:

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

I believe we presented the film at a SDFO meeting a while  back.

John Walters

Bonita, CA

johnfwalters5552@...



Winnie Arnn
 

Last spring and late summer, a family of juncos bred on the grounds of Marston House.  i


On May 10, 2021, at 8:20 PM, Philip Unitt <unitt@...> wrote:



Dear friends,

 

The junco becomes more extraordinary every year. The paper to which Gjon Hazard sent the link, by Bressler et al. comparing the juncos nesting at UCLA to those nesting at UCSD, is well worth reading. I bet that if the comparison was made to juncos nesting in San Diego today, though, there would be no difference. I suspect the difference is due to adaptation over 20 years rather than between the two sites. The paper suggests that the junco has developed some special attraction to college campuses, but I suspect that’s just because biologists tend to hang out around such campuses. Allow me here to advance the hypothesis that the junco has developed a special attraction to multi-story buildings. The increase of the population around San Diego has really accelerated this year. On some days this spring I have heard as many as three individuals singing just along my morning bike ride from my house in Hillcrest to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Several more in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood and even two among tall buildings with only a few trees between them in downtown San Diego. But not so much (yet) in neighborhoods with just single-story houses, even though they have more vegetation. The paper by Bressler et al. reports that the success of nests placed in novel situations on buildings is greater than that of nests placed in traditional situations on the ground. Evolution is happening faster than we can grasp.

 

Good birding,

 

Philip Unitt

San Diego

 

From: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io [mailto:SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io] On Behalf Of Lisa Ruby via groups.io
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2021 7:43 PM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] juncos nesting on man-made structures

 

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is available online:

https://vimeo.com/user3004053

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

On 5/10/2021 6:29 PM, Stan Walens wrote:

All,

 

The coastal “resident” population of juncos in San Diego has been heavily studied by the distinguished biologists Ellen Ketterson and Jonathan Atwell, from Indiana University.  Ellen has studied juncos throughout the U.S. for many decades, specializing in genetics and in the biology of mate-selection.

 

The first pair of summer-resident juncos was found by my 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, at 3:40 p.m. on July 5, 1983. I can still remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad, juncos!” and my reply “Rachel, there are no juncos here in the summer,” after which she self-assuredly, and self-righteously, corrected my to-her egregious error by pointing out a pair, male and female, to me.

 

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

 

I really recommend one watches the film, and even more, reads the monograph. They provide an incredible sense of what goes into learning about a bird species scientifically, and how complex bird biology, ethology, and genetics are.You’ll never look at junco as just a junco again.

 

Stan Walens, San Diego

May 10, 2021; 6:25 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com


--
Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs


Ethna Piazza
 

In The Summit on Mt. Soledad we have had many breeding pairs, in the ground cover on hillsides, in planters, and a hanging basket. 

I have seen some interesting parenting behavior, too.  Just yesterday, I saw a pair with a fledgling out in the open. As I walked past, the fledgling followed one parent up to a tree branch and the parent knocked it off the branch then knocked it down again in flight apparently indicating it needed to go down to hide. The fledging obliged and flew down to the ground cover and held still. 

Ethna Sinisi
La Jolla


On May 10, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Winnie Arnn <winniearnn@...> wrote:

Last spring and late summer, a family of juncos bred on the grounds of Marston House.  i


On May 10, 2021, at 8:20 PM, Philip Unitt <unitt@...> wrote:



Dear friends,

 

The junco becomes more extraordinary every year. The paper to which Gjon Hazard sent the link, by Bressler et al. comparing the juncos nesting at UCLA to those nesting at UCSD, is well worth reading. I bet that if the comparison was made to juncos nesting in San Diego today, though, there would be no difference. I suspect the difference is due to adaptation over 20 years rather than between the two sites. The paper suggests that the junco has developed some special attraction to college campuses, but I suspect that’s just because biologists tend to hang out around such campuses. Allow me here to advance the hypothesis that the junco has developed a special attraction to multi-story buildings. The increase of the population around San Diego has really accelerated this year. On some days this spring I have heard as many as three individuals singing just along my morning bike ride from my house in Hillcrest to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Several more in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood and even two among tall buildings with only a few trees between them in downtown San Diego. But not so much (yet) in neighborhoods with just single-story houses, even though they have more vegetation. The paper by Bressler et al. reports that the success of nests placed in novel situations on buildings is greater than that of nests placed in traditional situations on the ground. Evolution is happening faster than we can grasp.

 

Good birding,

 

Philip Unitt

San Diego

 

From: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io [mailto:SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io] On Behalf Of Lisa Ruby via groups.io
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2021 7:43 PM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] juncos nesting on man-made structures

 

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is available online:

https://vimeo.com/user3004053

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

On 5/10/2021 6:29 PM, Stan Walens wrote:

All,

 

The coastal “resident” population of juncos in San Diego has been heavily studied by the distinguished biologists Ellen Ketterson and Jonathan Atwell, from Indiana University.  Ellen has studied juncos throughout the U.S. for many decades, specializing in genetics and in the biology of mate-selection.

 

The first pair of summer-resident juncos was found by my 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, at 3:40 p.m. on July 5, 1983. I can still remember her saying to me, “Look, Dad, juncos!” and my reply “Rachel, there are no juncos here in the summer,” after which she self-assuredly, and self-righteously, corrected my to-her egregious error by pointing out a pair, male and female, to me.

 

Ellen’s team did almost 3 decades of mind-bogglingly detailed research on the UCSD juncos, publishing one monograph [Snowbird - integrative biology and evolutionary diversity in the junco, by Jonathan Atwell, U. Chicago Press, 2016] and dozens of papers on junco genetics, population, behavior, etc. It’s fantastic scientific work. They also produced an educational film in 2013, The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco, in which Phil Unitt plays a large on-screen role [loaner copies should be available at the public library and maybe at S.D. Audubon].

 

I really recommend one watches the film, and even more, reads the monograph. They provide an incredible sense of what goes into learning about a bird species scientifically, and how complex bird biology, ethology, and genetics are.You’ll never look at junco as just a junco again.

 

Stan Walens, San Diego

May 10, 2021; 6:25 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com


--
Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs