Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dark-Eyed Junco

Juncos that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate to the southern United States in winter.   It's strange that I hadn't seen one until the day these photos were taken on December 12th.    I took care not to get too close because I didn't want to scare him away.  

When foraging, Dark-eyed Juncos typically hop (rather than walk) on the ground, pecking or scratching at the leaf litter, or flit very low in underbrush gleaning food from twigs and leaves. They sometimes fly up from the ground to catch insects from tree trunks.   Dark-eyed Juncos are primarily seed-eaters, with seeds of chickweed, buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, and the like making up about 75% of their year-round diet. At feeders they seem to prefer millet over sunflower seeds. During the breeding season, Dark-eyed Juncos also eat insects including beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and flies.

During winter, Dark-eyed Juncos form fairly large flocks, and where wintering ranges overlap you may find several subspecies in a single flock. Juncos also forage with other sparrows and bluebirds. Junco flocks typically have a hierarchy or pecking order, and earlier arrivals tend to rank higher in the group than later arrivals.

Such pretty little birds.  I hope to see more of them in the future.  


  1. Hello, lovely series on the Junco! They are sweet! Happy February, enjoy your new week!

  2. I've seen a darker looking bird in Tampa I thought was a Junco. Maybe it wasn't. Saw the same looking bird for about 3 days, then that was it. So passing through I guess.

  3. I adore them...always hopping, perky and bouncy, it seems!...:)JP