Well color me blush pink...until yesterday I somehow missed that there are three (or 5?) types of dark-eyed juncos, not just two like I'd thought. According to the Nat'l Audubon Society Field Guide to N American Birds, (E and W), there's the slate-colored junco, which is what I thought I'd been seeing this winter (in varying colorations, which is normal), plus the Oregon junco that dominates the west...but, Hello!...then there's the white-winged junco. Guess where this little twitterer breeds? The Black Hills of S Dakota, ha! The WWJ has white wing bars and more white (than the other two) on its tail feathers. The juncos inter-breed, like the yellow-rumped warblers, so they too have been lumped into one bird, the dark-eyed junco.
I took this photo yesterday above Pactola Lake. I'm not convinced it's the white-winged junco tho it does have those tiny spots on its wing...not really 'bars'...
I took this photo in Nov...it too has the tiny wing bar spots, but is lighter grey. Gads.
This junco doesn't have any white bars on its wings and is all dark grey on top, so appears to be the slate-colored junco. Hmm. I found photos of various juncos online on an old blog post; the gal says there's also a grey-headed junco and a pink-sided junco. (Click the 'Junco Junction' title above to see her post.) OY!