In the birding world, we’d have to place the Dark-eyed Junco in the category of “fan favorite.”
Not only does the round-bellied little sparrow display an appealing trill, but it’s eye-catching due to its bright white tail feathers, variable-colored underbelly, and dark eyes set into a dark head and neck. During the breeding season it’s found primarily in the West and Northeast, but the rest of the year it can be found in woodlands across the U.S.
Interested in drawing more of these sleek little birds to your yard? Try these strategies.
1. Plan your menu accordingly.
At least three-quarters of a Junco’s diet comes from small grass, flower, weed, and grain seeds. Favorites include canary seed; finely cracked corn; black oil sunflower seeds; ragweed; smartweed; pigweed; lamb's-quarters; chickweed; purslane; vetch; sorrels; thistles; crabgrass and red or white proso millet. Note: avoid offering milo to ward off unwanted competition from Brown-headed Cowbirds and House Sparrows.
2. Install covered platform feeders relatively close to the ground.
Poles, deck railings, or fence posts can be ideal, but avoid putting them in bushy areas where predators may hide. Choose feeders designed to keep seed dry, and replace sodden seed to prevent mold and mildew growth. Scatter some seed on open ground near your feeder to attract the Junco’s attention.
3. Offer favorite native plants.
Juncos love to forage for the seeds of weeds and grasses left standing in your landscape or in fields, parks, and open woodlands. They’ll also eat berries from shrub varieties such as the Eastern Red Cedar, Choke Cherry, Elderberry or Winterberry.
4. Keep water handy.
Juncos seem to prefer drinking and bathing water that’s conveniently close to the ground. Try putting out shallow dishes of H20 for their warm-weather use; in winter, consider a heated bird bath.
5. Know your timing.
Look for Juncos to migrate north during March or April and head south again in October or November.
With its nutritional mix of seeds, nuts, sunflower kernels and cracked corn, Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix is specially formulated to appeal to Juncos and other fan-favorite songbirds. Fill your feeder with only the best.