Throughout North America, the species known as the "Dark-eyed Junco" exhibits striking differences in feather color, body size, and behavior from place to place. This variation among "subspecies" and "races" of juncos has caught the attention of biologists interested in diversification, evolution, and speciation--the process by which new species form. Exploring the definition of 'species,' hybridization, and the role of new DNA technology in studying evolution, this segment features footage from junco habitats across the continent. From Dr. Alden Miller in the 1920s, to Dr. Borja Mila, a modern day explorer and ornithologist, join researchers on their quest to understand the riddle of the Junco's evolutionary history.
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Introduce yourself to one of North America's most common and abundant groups of songbirds, the Juncos! Readily observed in backyards, city parks, and forests alike, these little gray birds---sometimes called "Snowbirds"---can be easily overlooked. But for scientists who study animal behavior, ecology, and evolutionary biology, the Junco is a rockstar. This segment serves as a preview to our feature-length (88 min) film, which is comprised of shorter modules (3 to 18 min.) that was designed to bring to life more than 100 years of groundbreaking research in animal behavior, evolution, and ecology featuring the "Ordinary Extraordinary Junco." We created the project with both public and student audiences in mind.
See our website: juncoproject.org, for additional videos, teacher/student resources, and related info.
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Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/JuncoProject