Perching Birds General
Perching birds, includes many types of small birds, most of which perch on small branches and produce a melodious song. Although rarely as important as larger birds in the traditional food systems of indigenous people, the abundance and diversity of perching birds and other birds causes them to be occasionally used as a source of eggs and meat for many cultures and are often the first species harvested by young children improving their hunting skills.
The Common Raven was plentiful for peoples of Northern Canada and Alaska, but many cultures did not eat raven and the cunning bird was a challenge to hunt for those that did [1, 2]. However, the Hare (Sahtu) and Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw) were known to eat raven . The Nuvorugmiut (Inuvialuit) sometimes ate raven in winter  and many Inuit survived through times of scarcity by hunting this bird .
Cultures known not to eat ravens included Kutchin (Gwich’in), Tlingit, Kaska and Red Earth Cree [6-11]. The Round Lake Ojibwa (Anishinabek), Slave (Sahtu), Han, Dogrib and Gitksan (Gitxsan) also rejected the idea of raven as food [12-19]. Instead, the birds were considered pests. Ravens would often feast on the meat of hares or bear before the hunter got to it, and raven excrements would spoil whatever good meat was left. Kutchin would kill these birds to prevent their scavenging . The raven also came to pick at fish left drying in the sun. Tlingit children were given the task of chasing away these pests. Sometimes ravens were also killed to be used as food .
The Blackfoot held high regard for the raven as this bird was thought to be very wise. If a raven flew over the camp slowly, it was thought that news would soon arrive. Alternatively, if the raven flew quickly and low in the sky, danger was soon to follow. Two ravens sitting together in conversation close to the camp was also a warning. Hunters would often follow a raven through the forest in hopes of a successful hunt .
The Kwakiutl hunted ravens for their decorative feathers . The Dogrib would use three raven feathers to fletch each of their arrows . Raven skins were used in the Arctic as talismans for deer hunting. The feathers were used by Baffin Inuit to clean blood and grease from their face and hands after mealtimes .
The raven was a common character in Arctic stories. One tale tells of Raven taking two geese as wives. During fall when the geese were ready to fly far away, Raven insisted on following. As night fell, Raven decided to sleep lying across his wives, who floated on the sea. The geese decided to swim apart, leaving an angry Raven to fall into the sea. Other legends describe Raven’s talent for changing between bird and human forms . In another tale, the Tlingit of Southeastern Alaska tell of Raven fighting with a bullhead fish (Pacific staghorn sculpin) and turning him into the ugliest fish in the sea . The Coast Salish tell stories of the cunning raven using others to hunt and carry game for him . This bird is known for his powers as creator, spirit healer, transformer and trickster. He is sometimes even called a man-eater.
The American Crow is reported to have been consumed by the Fraser Valley Stalo, Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw), Tlingit and Micmac (Mi'kmaq) [21, 23, 25]. Many cultures did not regard this carrion-eater as fit for human consumption. These included the Gitksan (Gitxsan), Kaska, Plains Cree, Red Earth Cree, Round Lake Ojibwa (Anishinabek), Huron and Mistissini Cree [6-8, 13, 15, 26-30]. The Hare believed that one would be doomed to death if one killed a crow . Those who killed crow, used bows and arrows . Crows were cooked in the same manner as most birds: either boiled or roasted, and both the meat and organs were consumed . Crow eggs were greatly enjoyed by the Penobscot of Maine. The eggs were eaten either raw or boiled. To eat a raw egg, the top of the shell was broken and the contents were sucked out .
Although bird feathers are normally used in arrow-making, crow feathers were avoided for this purpose, as they make too much noise, warning the previously unsuspecting prey . The Kwakiutl used crow feathers for decoration .
Crows were one of the few birds given ceremonial importance. Several Yukon cultures believed the crow to have superhuman powers . Crows could also make good friends; the camps of the Southern Okanagan were known to house crows as pets on occasion .
Gray Jays, commonly called camp robbers or whiskey jacks, were hunted by Inuvialuit . For most cultures, including the Kutchin (Gwich’in), these scavengers were only eaten in times of starvation or they were hunted when they were too numerous or when they were stealing the camp food [11, 17].
In order to deal with the abundance of these nuisance birds, a snowshoe trap was set by propping up snowshoes and tying a line to the frame. When the jay sought the bait under the snowshoe, the hunter pulled the line and the snowshoes collapsed onto the bird . Snowshoe traps were also used by the Mistissini. They were also known to trap Gray Jays with spring-pole snares consisting of a pole, with a hole in its end, and a loop of string pulled through. The pole was bent, and a trigger stick wedged the pole in this position. When a jay came for his bait of meat, he would dislodge the stick, straightening the pole and pulling the string tight around the feet .
The Kutchin disliked jays because they often pecked at meat left out to dry and would spoil their food by leaving their droppings on it. To rid themselves of the problem birds, Kutchin boys would shoot or snare jays. For a snare, a fence was made with sticks and string. Inside the fence, they would lay a piece of meat or fat. Once trapped, the birds were killed, but not eaten .
Blue Jays were abundant for Algonquian and Iroquoian cultures of the Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes . Blue Jays were sometimes eaten by the Stalo .
Some cultures prohibited the eating of jays and other scavenger birds . The Han did not eat Gray Jays  and the Hare (Sahtu) prohibited killing Gray Jays . Steller’s Jays were not hunted or eaten by Southeastern Alaskan cultures .
Many groups considered jays to be fortunetellers. The Ahtna would pray and sing to the Grey Jay before a hunt, to increase chances of success . In the Yukon, spotting a jay tells of luck in the upcoming hunt, but the jay’s wailing cry foretells death .
The American Robin is reported to have been eaten by the Thompson (N'laka'pamux), Upper Stalo, Hare (Sahtu), Nuvorugmiut (Inuvialuit), Micmac (Mi'kmaq) and Iroquois, among others [3, 4, 25, 31, 38-40].
The Southern Okanagan trapped robins with hemp nooses tied to sticks. Once captured, the robin’s head was either cut off or crushed. Boys also used slings, snare traps and bows and arrows [32, 41]. Kaska boys would hunt robins with snowshoe traps: two snowshoes were placed to form a tent on the ground with bait underneath. The trap was attached to a string that the hunter would pull, thus collapsing the snowshoes on top of the robin that had come to feed . The Rappahannock frequently shot and trapped robins in fall when they flocked. Deadfall traps and birdcages were used to trap the birds as they ate grain bait.
The Southern Okanagan cooked American Robins by boiling or roasting. The livers, hearts and gizzards were eaten, but the kidneys were not. The heads, including the brains, were boiled in soup . Among the Kalispel, the robin was given to young boys, while adults ate larger species .
Chickadees, likely to have included the Black-capped Chickadee and Boreal Chickadee, were sometimes eaten by the Red Earth Cree . Hunting small birds like chickadees was usually the task of boys who would make snares with loops of sinew and wait for the birds to arrive. Once caught, they were carried home for preparation by their mothers [9, 32, 42]. Chickadees were usually roasted or boiled [32, 42]. Boiling was often done in a basket: red-hot rocks and water were placed inside, cooking the meat until tender . At meal time adults ate larger birds, reserving chickadees for the children. Both the meat and the entrails were savoured . Among the Iroquois, eating the flesh of a chickadee was believed to make a person a liar. This idea grew out of a story describing a group of warriors who ate a single chickadee to keep from starving . In the Yukon, when a chickadee lingered above a camp, it was a sign that a visitor would soon come from afar. Also, this bird’s sad-sounding cry was thought to mean a death would soon follow .
The Snow Bunting was available year-round in the North  and is reported to have been a food source for Yukon cultures (Tlingit, Tagish, Tutchone), Chalkyitsik Kutchin (Gwich’in), Greenland Inuit and, in more southern regions, Rappahannock, among others [2, 10, 11, 20, 45].
Snow Bunting were hunted in March and April during spring migration . Kutchin sometimes used a snare made of sticks set in the ground and threaded with wire, and cornmeal or oatmeal scattered around the circular fence served as bait . Other cultures are reported to have trapped Snow Bunting with a snowshoe pull trap made of two snowshoes propped against each other to form a tent, under which was placed some bait. Attached to the snowshoes was a string held by a nearby hunter. When the bunting inspected the bait, the hunter pulled the string and the snowshoes would collapse on the bird. A similar method used was a “snatch trap” or board deadfall composed of a string tied to a stick that propped up a heavy board. When the bird came to inspect the bait of grain, meal and/or ashes, the hidden hunter would pull the line, releasing the weight of the board onto the prey [11, 45].
Snow Bunting, reported to have been a favourite among Arctic peoples, were reported to have made a delicious stew and was important in preventing starvation [10, 11, 45]. Children often hunted and cooked Snow Bunting: they plucked the carcasses and hung them over a fire. They were dangled from a string, which was spun to evenly cook the meat. The drippings were thought to be particularly tasty [20, 45].
In some Arctic cultures, mothers would warn their children against fooling with “little animals”, like buntings, as it might incite bad luck . Often Snow Bunting were well regarded. Peoples of the Arctic often spoke of Snow Bunting in their stories. Many Greenlandic legends depict the Snow Bunting’s miraculous transformation from human form into bird form. Others stories describe the beautiful songs of the Snow Bunting .
Southern Okanagan boys would hunt Black-billed Magpies in spring, using an Indian hemp noose attached to a stick. The noose was dangled in front of the bird’s head, which was later crushed or cut off once the bird was trapped. Snares, slings or bows and arrows were also used to catch these birds . Adult birds, and sometimes fledglings, were usually roasted. At times, these birds were also boiled; this practice was common among many peoples, including the Southern Okanagan. Much of the bird, including the liver, heart and gizzards were used, but the kidneys were not eaten .
Magpies are carrion eaters, and as such were not eaten by some cultures including the Red Earth Cree . These pesky birds were known to hover over racks of drying fish or meat; children were sometimes in charge of keeping them away [21, 22]. The Blackfoot would sing lullabies that asked the magpie to leave the stolen food at their door . The Southern Okanagan, Shoshone and Canadian Sioux were also known to keep magpies as household pets. To prevent them from leaving the camp, the wings and tail were often clipped [32, 47, 48]. Among Canadian Sioux, many believed that if you killed a magpie, and tied it around the neck of a pregnant mare, the colt will become a pinto .
Blackbirds were reported to have been an important bird eaten by the Hare (Sahtu), Red Earth Cree, Iroquois and Micmac (Mi'kmaq), among other cultures [3, 9, 38, 39, 45]. The Hare consumed Rusty Blackbird and Red-winged Blackbird  and the Rappahannock were known to eat Grackle and Rusty Blackbird . Brown-headed Cowbirds are reported to have been hunted and consumed in large numbers by the Rappahannock . Blackbirds were often boiled in watertight baskets or roasted on sticks above a fire . The Micmac are reported to have plucked blackbirds and roasted them on spits .
Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings, also known as cherry birds, were usually shot and trapped in fall, when they would flock together. To trap them, deadfalls or bird cages with bait (usually grain) were used . Waxwings were roasted over a fire or boiled. Southern Okanagan and Flathead of Montana boiled waxwings , using a basket filled with hot rocks and water . Cedar Waxwing were hunted and consumed by Red Earth Cree children . Among Yukon cultures, Bohemian Waxwings were not usually eaten; shooting a waxwing was thought to bring a bitter cold snap .
The Iroquois are reported to have eaten Eastern Meadowlark [38, 39]. The Eastern Meadowlark, also known as the field lark, was killed in large numbers by the Rappahannock . The Western Meadowlark, also known as yellow breast, was a favourite of the Blackfoot .
Fox Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow were reportedly eaten by the Hare (Sahtu) who cooked the birds by boiling, frying in lard, grilling over a fire or oven roasting . The Song Sparrow is reported to have been eaten by the Red Earth Cree. The children often hunted them, but the cooking was the responsibility of their mothers . Among the Kalispel, it was also children who shot sparrows with bows and arrows . The Rappahannock trapped sparrows in a “bird trap” or cage-fall trap. The cage was held together with string, forming the shape of a pyramid. A long stick held the cage door open. As the birds ate the bait, which was usually grain, they would trip over the stick, causing the cage door to close and the bird would be trapped inside. The trigger stick was also used to kill the sparrow .
The Tree Swallow was reportedly eaten by the Hare (Sahtu) . The Koyukon and the Red Earth Cree were also known to hunt swallows for food. While children would often catch these small birds, Cree mothers would take over the cooking [9, 37]. Among the Kalispel, swallows were shot by young boys with bows and arrows .
Dark-eyed Juncos, also called snowbirds, are reported to have been eaten by the Cree and Rappahannock [45, 49, 50]. Juncos were caught with a “bird trap” or cage-fall trap by the Rappahannock. The pyramid-shaped cage was held together with string, with a trigger stick holding the cage door open. The door quickly slammed shut as the bird moved inside the cage to eat the bait. The hunter also used this trigger stick to hold the bird when opening the cage. Quite often, the junco was killed with this same stick. Among some groups, like the Rappahannock, juncos were considered foreign: they came in winter and left in spring and therefore killing them for food was found to be acceptable . After hunting and killing juncos, young Rappahannock hunters would also pluck them. The birds were hung with string above a burning fire. While roasting, the birds were spun intermittently, becoming “parched till the grease runs out”. These birds, though small, were an enjoyable treat; their fat was reported as particularly liked by many . The Quebec Cree reportedly cooked juncos into “white-bird pancakes”, a favourite recipe at Fort George .
The Red Earth Cree are reported to have consumed flycatchers , which was likely to have included the Olive-sided Flycatcher. They were likely to have been shot with bow and arrow, similar to other songbirds .
The Red Earth Cree are reported to have eaten grosbeak ; other cultures, including those of Grand Rapids, are reported to have hunted pine grosbeak for food .
Common Redpolls and Hoary Redpolls were eaten in the Arctic at Kane Basin . Redpolls were also plentiful for peoples at Grand Rapids, Crow’s Nest Pass and Herschel Island . Bering Strait Yupik usually ate redpolls cooked, roasted or boiled, with boiling being the most common .
The Hare (Sahtu) and Red Earth Cree were known to eat thrushes, likely to have included common and widespread species such as Swainson’s Thrush and Gray-cheeked Thrush. The Hare would prepare these birds by roasting or grilling over a fire or by boiling or frying [3, 9].
The Red Earth Cree were known to hunt warblers for food . Yellow Warbler is reported to have been eaten by the Hare (Sahtu) who roasted, grilled, boiled or fried them , and was likely to have been one of the warblers eaten by Red Earth Cree, together with the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
On rare occasions, the white-winged crossbill was hunted near Slave River. July and August were the best months for hunting these birds , however they are reported to have been hunted by the Hudson’s Bay Inuit in winter .
Eastern Towhees, also referred to as swamp robins or chewinks, were considered local and not meant for eating by the Rappahannock. If caught accidentally in cage-traps, these birds were released unharmed .
The Micmac and Iroquois are reported to have eaten Horned Lark, hunted with snares in spring and summer when they were plentiful. Micmac reportedly roasted lark on spits after the feathers had been plucked .
The Red Earth Cree are reported to have eaten Eastern Kingbirds, with children sometimes hunting them and bringing them to their mothers to cook .
Inuit children would reportedly snare Lapland Longspurs to entertain themselves while their families were on hunting trips .
The purple finch was sometimes eaten by the Chipewyan, but was not especially abundant in the North .
The Red Earth Cree are reported to have eaten nuthatch , likely to have been the Red-breasted Nuthatch.
The Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch was consumed by several north-western cultures and was an important food source at Crow’s Nest Pass .
Red Earth Cree are reported to have eaten vireos, likely to have included the Red-eyed Vireo. Children often caught vireos and brought them home to be roasted or boiled by their mothers .
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Perching Birds General
Perching birds, classified in the order Passeriformes and also referred to as song birds, are a diverse group that includes many families of small- to medium-sized birds. Representing over half of the living species of birds, perching birds share a specialized arrangement of toes that allow them to tightly cling on branches, reeds, or wires . In North America, some of the major families of perching birds are: 1) corvids, including ravens, crows, jays, and magpies, 2) sparrows, including sparrows, juncos, buntings, longspurs, and towhees, 3) thrushes and robins, 4) chickadees, 5) blackbirds and meadowlarks, 7) larks, 8) warblers, 9) swallows, and many other families.
The Common Raven (Corvus corax) is a large and glossy black perching bird that occurs year-round throughout most of Canada, Alaska, and western United States. They are closely related to the American Crow and in the same family as jays and the Black-billed Magpie. Ravens can be up to three times larger than crows, weighing between 0.7 and 1.6 kg, and have a longer, heavier bill, more voluminous throat feathers, and a more wedge-shape tail. They are found in almost any habitat, including the high Arctic tundra, most forested areas, high mountainous regions, grasslands, deserts, and cities, and have a varied diet consisting of carrion, live animals, eggs, grains, fruits, but also garbage. They are most often found alone or in pairs, but can occur in great numbers around a food source or in communal night roost. Ravens are extremely intelligent birds and are well-known for their load, distinctive, and highly variable vocalizations, which often include deep croak-like sounds .
The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a medium-sized and glossy black perching bird that breeds throughout southern Canada, from interior British Columbia to southern Labrador, and occurs year-round in most of the United States. They are closely related to the Common Raven and in the same family as jays and the Black-billed Magpie. Crows are much smaller than ravens, weighing between 320 and 580 g, and have a shorter, more slender bill, less voluminous throat feathers, and a more fan-shaped tail. They are found in a wide range of habitats, but require open areas to feed and trees to nest and roost. Like ravens, crows are intelligent, social and highly vocal, with calls that are higher-pitched and more caw-like than the deep croak of ravens .
Jays are medium-sized perching birds that are in the same family as the Common Raven, the American Crow, and the Black-billed Magpie. In North America, jays include the Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), and the Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri).
The Gray Jay, also known as whiskey jack, occurs year-round throughout much of the boreal and coniferous forests of Canada. They have a short black bill, dark gray upperparts, a black patch behind the head, a whitish head and neck, and pale gray belly. They are bold and curious birds, most often seen in lifetime pairs or extended family groups. Gray Jays hide clumps of food, held together with their saliva, under the bark of trees distributed throughout their family territory . The Blue Jay has a more southeastern distribution and has a long black bill, a crested head with black patches, blue upperparts, and whitish face, throat, and belly , while the Steller’s Jay has a more western distribution and has a black head with a high crest and white facial stripes, a grayish black neck and back, and bluish wings, tail, and belly .
The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a medium-sized perching bird and is the most widespread and largest member of the thrush family. American Robins are common throughout North America, breeding across Canada, arriving in spring and leaving in autumn, and occurring year-round throughout most of the United States. They weigh around 80 g and have a yellow bill, a blackish head with white eye rings, a black and white throat, dark brownish upperparts, distinctive brick red breast, and a white lower belly and undertail. They are most often found foraging for insects, worms, and fruits on lawns in urban areas or in areas with short grass and some trees or shrubs. American Robins have a loud, musical voice and form long-lasting monogamous breeding pairs and occur in larger foraging flocks in the winter. They most often build grass and mud nest in trees and lay 3-4 eggs that are incubated for around 13 days and young fledge after 13 days .
Chickadees are small perching birds with a short black bill, white cheeks, a dark cap and bib, a long tail, grayish upperparts, and whitish underparts. In the summer breeding season, they are territorial and monogamous forming couples for life, while in the winter, they often occur in large flocks of mixed species. They lay around 5-10 eggs that are incubated by the female and hatch around 15 days later. Young are fed by both parents and fledge between 13-24 days old . In North America, chickadees are widespread, year-round residents, with a curious nature and a familiar chick-a-dee like call. The most common chickadees in North America are the more southerly Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  and the more northerly Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus) .
The Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a medium-sized, uniquely white, perching bird that migrates in spring from southern Canada and northern United States to breed in the Arctic tundra. They are in the same family as sparrows, juncos, longspurs, and towhees. They have a short, stubby, black bill and males are mostly white with a black back and tail, while the females has brownish streaks on the head and more brownish upperparts. In flight, both sexes show an obvious large white patch on the underwings. They nest in rocky patches close to vegetated areas and spend the winter in foraging flocks most often around open grassy areas. Males arrive on breeding grounds in early April, more than a month before most females, to compete for appropriate nest sites. The sight and song of these early-arriving males is a welcome sign of approaching spring across the Arctic .
The Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) is a medium-sized perching bird present year-round in western North America. They are in the same family as ravens, crows and jays. Magpies are strikingly marked and conspicuously ornamented with an elaborate tail that is very long and glossy. This species has a heavy, black bill, a black head, neck, breast, back, and rump, a white belly, and glossy dark blue and white wing patches. They form monogamous lifetime couples and most often breed around meadows and grasslands close to streams. Like other members of this family, magpies are intelligent, vocal and bold, often associating with humans and any food scraps they leave behind .
Blackbirds are medium-sized perching birds that are in the same family as meadowlarks. Most species are entirely black with a greenish or bluish gloss and have a strong, straight, pointed bill. They are most commonly found in open habitats, like grasslands, marshes, or parks. Blackbirds in the northern portion of their range migrate south for the winter, with many species forming enormous flocks in the autumn. In general, during the summer breeding season, they feed mainly on insects, while in winter they eat mostly fruits and nuts. Most blackbirds are polygamous and colonial, but some are monogamous and territorial . In North America, species of blackbirds include the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) , the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) , the Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) , and the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) .
Waxwings are medium-sized perching birds most commonly found in open forests or forest edges along water. They have a black face mask, a crest that can be erected, pointed wings, a squared tail, and brightly-coloured trims on their tail and wings. They migrate south during the winter to have access to fruits and berries representing their main food source . In North America, species of waxwings include the Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) with a more southern distribution  and the Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) with a more northern distribution .
Meadowlarks are medium-sized perching birds in the same family as blackbirds. In North America, species of meadowlarks include the Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), occurring mostly east of the Great Lakes including southeastern Canada and most eastern United States , and the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), occurring west of the Great Lakes from southern Canada to southern United States . Both species appear similar, with a buff brown, chunky body, white and yellow markings on their face, throat, breast, and underparts, long, slender bill, short tail, and long legs. They both occupy open grassland habitats, spending most of their time on the ground foraging for insects or seeds. Meadowlarks are highly vocal with a plaintive but spirited song [19, 20], often interpreted to say Spring-is-Here-Again.
Sparrows are common, small- to medium-sized perching birds, in the same family as buntings, juncos, longspurs, and towhees. Most species migrate south for the winter and feed mainly on seeds, while during the summer breeding season, they are mainly insectivorous. Sparrows can form large winter flocks with a strong social ranking. Both sexes look alike and are generally brownish, often streaked on the breast, and have a short, broad-based bill and rounded wings. They most commonly occupy habitats dominated by grass or shurbs . In North America, common species of sparrows include the Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) , the Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) , and the Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) .
The Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) is a small perching bird commonly found in open fields and marshes throughout most of North America. Like most other swallows, they have a small, dark, pointed bill, a glossy sheen, a forked tail, and are aerial acrobats that use rapid flight and sharp turns to catch flying insects. Tree swallows have iridescent dark blue upperparts, white underparts, and blackish wing feathers. They mainly feed on flying insects and breed in loose social colonies. Their common name refers to their preference, relatively unique among swallows, for nesting in tree cavities excavated by other species, like woodpeckers .
The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is a small, round-bodied perching bird found throughout North America. They are in the same family as sparrows, buntings, longspurs, and towhees. Their coloration varies from region to region, ranging from a slate-coloured phase that is uniformly dark gray to an Oregon phase with contrasting dark hood, brownish back, and pinkish sides. However, in all regions, juncos have a whitish belly and bill, as well as white outer tail-feathers that flash when the bird takes flight. In winter, juncos occur in conspicuous, ground-foraging flocks .
The Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) is a medium-sized perching bird occurring in North American coniferous forests. They are in the same family as kingbirds and are similarly specialized to capture flying insect prey. They have a brownish olive vest-like plumage and are most often seen on perched on tree tops, and are similar in appearance to several other North American flycatcher species. They are most easily recognized (and differentiated from other flycatchers) with their distinctive call, usually produced while perched at the top of a large tree. Olive-sided Flycatchers undergo long-distance migrations, wintering as far south as the Andes Mountains in South America .
The Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) is a medium-sized perching bird that occurs year-round in open subarctic and boreal forests from eastern Canada to western Alaska. They are in the same family as finches, crossbills, and redpolls. They have a stubby, black, and slightly curved bill. Males are most often reddish and females yellow-gray, but colour patterns vary widely across the range. Pine Grosbeaks use their short, rounded bill to crush seeds and to nip conifer buds and branch tips .
Redpolls are small, busy, and acrobatic perching birds, with a bouncy flight and dynamic flock structure, in the same family as finches, crossbills, and grosbeaks. In North America, species of redpolls include the Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)  and the Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni) . Both species breed in the taiga and boreal forest and spend the winter in southern regions of Canada and northern United States. They both have a short stubby bill, a reddish orange forehead, whitish underparts, and buff brown to grayish upperparts. The Common Redpoll is generally darker than the Hoary Redpoll and male Common Redpolls have pink tints on the breast and sides [28, 29].
Thrushes are medium-sized perching birds in the same family as the American Robin. In North America, species of thrushes include the Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) , that breeds in northern forests across North America, and the Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus), with a slightly more northern summer range extending to taiga-adjacent tundra . Both species are olive-brown with brownish spots on the throat and breast, whitish underparts, and pinkish legs. The Swainson’s thrush is slightly smaller and has a more obvious pale eye ring [30, 31]. Thrushes are secretive birds that easily blend into the shadows of the forest floor, but produce distinct, flute-like, spiraling songs late into the twilight, long after most other birds have stopped singing .
Warblers are a diverse group of small, often brightly-coloured, perching birds. Warblers are primarily insectivores that glean insects off of and from around vegetation. Most species have distinct songs that can be used to identify birds concealed in the forest canopy and to differentiate similar-appearing species. Yellow Warblers (Dendroica petechia)  and Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata)  are two of the most widespread and common North American warblers. The Yellow Warbler is the most strikingly yellow of North American warblers and tends to be found in wet, deciduous thickets . The Yellow-rumped Warbler is streaked white, gray, and black with bright yellow patches on the crown, rump, and sides, and has a more generalized diet and habitat associations than most other warblers . Both species build grass nests in shrubs or trees, lay a clutch of 4-5 eggs, and migrate to the neotropics , though Yellow-rumped Warblers are known to winter throughout the southern United States and in coastal areas as far north as Nova Scotia .
The White-winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) is a medium-sized perching bird present year-round throughout North American boreal coniferous forest. They are in the same family as finches, grosbeaks, and redpolls. All crossbill species have a large bill with crossed mandibles ending into curved and pointed tips, perfectly adapted to extract seeds from coniferous cones .
The Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is a medium-sized perching bird, present in southeastern North America and in the same family as sparrows, buntings, and the longspurs. Eastern Towhees are boldly patterned in black, rust and white and regularly heard producing a distinctive call, to which towhee and other common names like chewink refer. The bill is stubby and black. The head, throat, and upperparts are black in males and dark brown in females, but the sides and rump are rufous, the belly and wing edges are white. Eastern Towhees use a distinctive two-footed scratching behavior to uncover insects and spiders in the leaf litter .
The Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) is a medium-sized perching bird present in open habitats across most of North America. Their most unique feature is paired, horn-like, black erectible tufts on their head. They are mostly light brown with a black bill, a whitish face and belly, a black forecrown, black “sideburn” stripes running from the bill to below the eye, and a black bib. Horned Larks often sing in flight. Adults are mainly seed-eaters, but feed insects to their young .
The Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is a medium-sized, dark gray perching bird occurring in open spaces of most North America. They are in the same family as flycatchers and, like flycatchers, specialize on flying insect prey. The genus name for kingbirds, meaning “tyrant, despot or king”, results from their tendency to aggressively defend their nests and dominate other birds that enter their breeding territories .
The Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) is a medium-sized perching bird that breeds in the Arctic and overwinters in some parts of southern Canada and throughout central United-States. They are in the same family as sparrows, buntings, and towhees. They have short, broad-based, yellowish bill and are streaked with some black, white, and reddish brown. The name longspur refers to long, slender claw on the hind toe of each foot. Longspurs are generally ground-dwelling and ground-feeding birds, with a generalized diet on seeds, insects and spiders .
The Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) is a medium-sized perching bird occurring in southern Canada, along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California, and throughout eastern United States. They are in the same family as crossbills, finches, grosbeaks, and redpolls. They have a short broad-based bill and males have raspberry coloured plumage, while females are streaked with white and brownish colours .
The Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is a small perching bird occurring year-round in North American boreal and coniferous forests. They have a long pointed bill, a whitish face and throat, a black cap, a black eye line from the bill to the back of the head, blue-gray upperparts, and rusty underparts. They are most often seen walking vertically along tree trunks, often with their head pointed toward the ground, or heard giving their distinct, repetitive, tinhorn sounding call. Red-breasted Nuthatches are most often associated with spruce or fir forests, where they feed on insects and seed .
The Gray-crowned Rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) is a medium-sized perching bird, which breeds ate high elevation throughout Alaska and the Rocky Mountains and overwinters in northwestern United States. They are in the same family as finches, grosbeaks, crossbills, and redpolls. They are handsome, dark brown and pink birds, with a light gray crown and black forehead. They have a short, broad-based bill that is black in the breeding season and yellow in the winter. This species is likely the highest-altitude breeding bird in North America, building nests in cracks or holes in rocky cliffs or ledges. With their long wings and preference for high altitudes, Gray-crowned Rosy-finches cope with high winds and blowing snow that drive most other species to lower elevations .
The red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus) is a small, perching bird, common in summer throughout forested habitats of eastern North America. They have grayish olive upperparts, whitish underparts, a dark gray crown, a dusky eye line, and reddish eyes. This species is more often heard than seen, producing a repetitive, monotonous call throughout the day. Vireos eat mainly insects during the breeding season, but fruit is an important part of the winter diet. Populations of Red-eyed Vireos breeding in North America winter principally in the Amazon basin of South America .
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