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Dark Eyed Junco

White black and gray bird called a dark eyed junco in the winter snow in Wisconsin

Dark Eyed Junco Birds At Feeder

This month I thought I would change it up a little and give you something to look forward to each Friday. For the remainder of February (2 weeks), I will be posting a new bird that is at the feeder. This week’s Friday in February Dark Eyed Junco birds at feeder.

What The Dark Eyed Junco Looks Like:

Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a white belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage. The bill is usually a pale pink.

 

Dark Eyed Junco - These birds forage on the ground. In winter, they often forage in flocks. They eat mainly insects and seeds. They usually nest in a well-hidden location on the ground or low in a shrub or tree.

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Migration:

In our area of Wisconsin.  The dark eyed juncos seem to arrive around the third week of September. They will stay for the duration of the winter.

Dark Eyed Juncos in North America

My grandmother lived in the country and I always knew when the Dark Eyed Juncos returned for the Wisconsin winter; and again, when they left.

Grandma always said these winter birds came in flocks, stopping off around the farm fields surrounding her property, and then cleaned out her feeder in minutes. She thought they were passing through on their travels to the Sugar Creek area.

Junco - Although, Junco’s do enjoy wooded areas, they are also perfectly happy sticking around a feeder for the winter too. They generally enjoy feeding from the seed the other birds drop on the ground.  That is exactly what the group of Juncos I watching is doing. Going from the treetops to the ground under the feeder.

After a few winters watching the locations Junco’s like to hang out, I am sure she was right. Sugar Creek is heavily wooded.

 

What Dark Eyed Juncos Eat:

They mainly eat insects and seeds.  Although, Junco’s do enjoy sticking within wooded areas, they are also perfectly happy sticking around a feeder for the winter. They generally enjoy feeding from the seed that other birds drop on the ground. Occasionally, they will treat themselves to suet as well.

 

 

 

That is exactly what the group of Juncos I watching is doing. Going from the trees, to the ground under the feeder. A few even enjoying suet with titmice.

Breeding:
Their breeding habitat is conifers or mixed forest areas throughout North America. Breeding takes place mid-March through April.

Nesting:
Nests are a cup-shaped depression on the ground that are lined with fine grasses and hair. Well hidden by vegetation or other material. Occasionally, nests are found in the lower branches of a shrub or tree.

Dark Eyed Junco 2 - Their breeding habitat is coniferous or mixed forest areas throughout North America, ranging from subarctic taiga to high-altitude mountain forests in Mexico and Central America south to Panama. Northern birds usually migrate farther south; southern populations are permanent residents or altitudinal migrants, moving only a short distance downslope to avoid severe winter weather in the mountains.

How Many Eggs:
Juncos have the ability to lay two times during a breeding season.  Laying four eggs each time. The ability to lay twice during the breeding season is nature’s way to protect the species for these ground nesters.

 

What Do The Eggs Look Like:
Eggs are a pale blue or gray and splotched with brown, purple or gray coloring.

How Long For Eggs To Hatch:
The eggs are incubated by the female for 12 to 13 days.

 

When Do The Young Leave The Nest:
The young leave nest fairly quick after hatching. Between 11 and 14 days after hatching.

 

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