A bonus has been finding an occasional Oregon-type Junco in wintering flocks in Connecticut. On 14 January 2008, while photographing a beautiful presumed first-year female Oregon Junco, J. h. oreganus, at my feeder in Ashford, I found one, and then another, junco exhibiting characters that indicate probable hybridization with another common wintering species and uncommon nesting species, White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis.
Both birds showed white tips to the lesser coverts and limited dotting on the greater coverts that formed dotted wing bars resembling those shown by the genus zonotrichia. These were different than the white edgings that form wing bars in some Slate-colored Juncos.
Both birds showed brownish streaking dorsally and one bird showed buffy coloration to the bib and this bird also showed one outer greater covert that looked similar to a zonotrichia covert.
These birds were not captured so age and sex determination would only be speculative.
The one previous Junco X White-throat hybrid I have seen in Connecticut looked much more like a White-throated Sparrow. This bird, found and photographed by Bruce and Kevin Finnan, was at the White Memorial Foundation feeders in Litchfield, Litchfield County, Connecticut during the winter of 1999.
Slate-colored Junco and White-throated Sparrow are uncommon nesting species in Connecticut, with the nearest known site about eight miles north of my yard at Boston Hollow in Eastford and Union. It is conjecture, but, the presence of two birds suggests that they may have come from this area and are the product of limited mate selection for these two species.