The Dark-Eyed Juncos Head North

Last Updated on October 19, 2020 by Nancie

Spring Dark-Eyed Junco
Spring Dark-Eyed Junco

Dark-Eyed Juncos, the “snow birds,” show up in our yard every fall and spend the winter with us. They are always a busy addition to the yard, eating seed I offer them and flying across the yard, flashing their black and white tail feathers. It always makes me smile when they arrive.

But each spring the juncos head north again. Last week there were more than thirty of them every day poking through the tiny spring flowers in the grass, eating nyjer and millet seed to gather their energy for their trek north to their breeding grounds. I think they have been starting to think about breeding because they’ve been chasing each other around the yard quite a bit for the past couple of weeks.

Dark-Eyed Junco in the Snow
Dark-Eyed Junco in the Snow
White-Throated Sparrow Hanging Out With The Juncos
White-Throated Sparrow Hanging Out With The Juncos

This week there were one or two stragglers eating seed with the remaining White-Throated Sparrows and a new gang of tiny Chipping Sparrows. The rest are gone. The White-Throats will head north themselves in a few weeks. We won’t see them again until next fall rolls around again.


Learn More About Dark-Eyed Juncos

Dark-Eyed Junco Page at All About Birds

How Juncos Changed Their Migration, Behavior, and Plumage in a Matter of Decades (Cornell All About Birds online article.)

Learn More About Maryland Birds

See my post on Maryland Backyard Birds.

Spring Dark-Eyed Junco will soon head north.

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