Last night the junco babies were in their nest, this morning they were gone and the nest pulled out of its hidey hole and dumped on the ground below.
Mike says he has been watching that nest too, taking photos of it. I have a photo of the eggs, he has photos of the babies. He says the nest was lined with a very fine grey down, and the down also covered the babies so that when he examined the photos he took it appeared as if the babies were in a grey fog. He counted four babies in his photos.
I don't think the snake would have pulled the whole nest out, it might have been a raccoon. But I don't know snakes very well, so perhaps it did. Anyway, the nest failed. There was no down left in the remains of the nest, something gobbled up the entire contents of the nest.
I only ever saw one adult junco at a time, I wonder if it is common for juncos to raise families alone, or if the mate was gone, or if only one of the pair ever showed up at a time. But if there were two parents, it seems odd that they would leave the nest unattended at any time, which indeed was what was happening.
I think actually the babies were dead or dying before the raccoon got to the nest. Last night around dusk the junco was not sitting on the nest, that seemed odd to me that she would leave the nest unattended at night. Certainly she'd been there in the evening every other time I looked. The babies were not moving or making any sound. I think she abandoned the project as a lost cause.
It is still early in the summer, if the junco can find another mate it could start another family.