Spring May Be Here, but We’re Talking About Snowbirds!
Learn About Juncos with Valley Farms®
Varied and vibrant, Juncos are distinct members of the sparrow family. Unlike other sparrows, however, Juncos tend to fly straight into treetops instead of going for thickets or brush piles like their counterparts.
There are two species of Junco birds that can be found across North America: the yellow-eyed junco and the dark-eyed junco. The yellow-eyed junco is typically located in Southeastern Arizona, but its range extends all the way down through Honduras. The dark-eyed junco is one of the most common birds in North America, of which variations can be found throughout the entire continent. Several types of dark-eyed juncos include:
➢Slate-colored junco. Most often found in Northern Alaska and Canada, this brown/dark-grey dark-eyed junco also makes an appearance in the Lower 48 states during the winter.
➢Oregon junco. Identified by their dark caps and gray/brown backs and wings, Oregon junco are year-round residents of the Pacific coast that go west during the colder months.
➢Additional types of dark-eyed juncos birders that may pique birders’ interests include the pink-sided junco, the white-winged junco, the gray-headed junco, and the red-backed junco.
Classic Characteristics of Juncos
Juncos may be diverse in their appearance, but there are several clear indicators that make them easy to spot. Juncos are known for having white bellies and bright white tail feathers that they routinely flash during flight. Most Juncos also have pale bills. As for sounds, birders can listen for their twittering calls or trilling songs to identify them.
Where are Juncos Found?
North American juncos may be in any of the areas mentioned above, but as for where to find them within these locations, Juncos tend to flit around forest floors of the western mountains and Canada before they take refuge in North America for the winter. Their increased appearance in the winter months has earned them their “Snowbirds” moniker.
Birders may have luck finding these sweet little birds on woodland walks, as they are commonly found in open, partially wooded areas. Another place to look is down, especially if you’re in your own backyard: Juncos tend to hang out near feeders or on the ground beneath them.
Pro tip: Juncos are rarely found alone. They usually form flocks, especially in the winter, with 15-30 birds coming together at any given time.
What do Juncos Eat?
Lucky for bird enthusiasts, Juncos tend to frequent bird feeders, making them the perfect backyard guests. They are ground feeders and identify as granivorous, meaning they mainly eat seeds and grain. Juncos’ favorite foods are hulled sunflower seeds, white proso millet, and cracked corn.
Pro Tip 2: Given that they eat near the ground, lower platform feeders or open trays are good options if you want to attract Juncos to your neck of the woods.
Have a need for bird seed? Valley Farms® has it all! Find bird food, bird food supplies, and even several bird feeders when you shop with Valley Farms® today!