While putting fresh seeds out the other day, I found some clear tracks in the snow. Who had made them?
As you can see in the photo the footprints are in pairs. They don’t run in a line like robin’s tracks. Whoever had been visiting here had hopped from spot to spot, not walked.
Another clue was the size. These were pretty big tracks, but yet they didn’t sink down that far in the snow. Hmmm.
A third clue was the location. They were on the ground were nyjer seeds were scattered. That almost guarantees they weren’t house sparrow tracks. For some reason the sparrows only seem to like seeds like millet. (Which is also why I don’t ever put out millet.) Chickadees will eat nyjer, but they rarely spend much time on the ground. They prefer the swoop and retreat style of eating. Mourning doves eat nyjer but don’t hop.
A white V tail flash from a nearby euonymus bush gave the final clue. The Dark Eyed Juncos had been back, hopping on and off the crabapple branch eating nyjer seeds in the snow. And they would like me to hurry up and leave so they can get back at it.
When I watched the juncos feeding from inside the house I noticed they really do have large feet for such small birds. Snowshoes, I suspect!
Have you puzzled out tracks in the snow? Please share your experiences with a comment.