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Many folks call the Dark-eyed Juncos a sign of winter and “snowbirds” since these birds seems to show up in our backyards just as winter settles in. Learn more and listen to their sweet bird song.
Dark-eyed Juncos are medium-sized sparrows about 5 to 6 inches long with long tails; these winter-hearty birds breed in Canada and migrate to the U.S. in the winter season. They’re commonly found across the country. East of the Plains, the males are a darker slate grey and white color, and the females have a lighter color. In the West, these birds often have reddish-brown coloring on their backs and/or sides. Both have distinct white outer tail feathers that flash open when they take flight.
They are “ground birds” that not only nest on the ground (under trees or logs) but also forage on the ground, hopping around and pecking at the ground for the seeds of weeds and grasses. They’ll also show up at bird feeds but tend to gather under the feeding tray.