Dark-eyed Junco

by Gunnir

I think the dark eyed junco is one of the most fascinating birds out there. The males and females do have different characteristics. The males have black heads while the females have gray heads, but they both still have pinkish-brown sides. Junco look like sparrows, as they are a part of that family. I really like how their long white tail feathers are and how they have pinkish beaks. They do not get to be very big birds, they only get to be about 5” to 7”. That’s about as big as a small lizard which makes them super hard to find in the wilderness. When they fly, their wings are curved at the tip. I really like how you can see through their wings, when they have them spread out. If you are in different regions, other juncos will not look the same as the Oregon junco.

Experts say that the Oregon junco is one of the most common birds in Oregon. They may be a common bird but I think they have really interesting facts. The junco is really popular in the Rogue Valley where I live, and I have seen one here before. Also you can find juncos all over America and even in Canada. The junco migrates to the Gulf of Mexico during the winter. The birds are smart to go somewhere warm, as I would do the same thing when it gets cold if I could. Their homes are made out of tree branches and shrubs on the ground and they like to be near bushes. Their homes remind me of forts and I like to build forts in my living room even though I don’t use tree branches as my mom would get mad. They don’t like to live in birdhouses or nesting boxes, like most smaller birds do. The junco thinks it’s too crowded and gets too warm for them. I agree as I wouldn’t want to live in such a small house. Juncos can survive the weather at the coast range, all the way to the Conifer Forest.

Oregon Dark Eyed Juncos are omnivores. Which means they eat plants, insects and seeds. They also eat spiders, centipedes and ticks. Juncos eating ticks would help families that hike, like myself. Their favorite food in the wild are seeds, grass seed and weeds. During the winter they will scratch on the snow in circles to find the seeds. I try to find things buried beneath the snow when we have snow days too. It’s really hard, so I could imagine a little bird trying to find their food. During the winter months they will eat snow for water. I wonder if the snow tastes like water to juncos? I definitely wouldn’t eat the yellow snow though. They like to eat from the feeders that are lower to the ground or open trays. If you want to bring them to your yard, you’ll need to have tall grass or lots of bushes around the feeder. To really attract them, put black oil sunflowers seeds, millet, and cracked corn in their feeders. I would like to try these things to attract them to my own yard someday. 

According to Google, since 1966 the species is declining because of the food availability during non breeding months. Since there are 15 different species of the juncos, some are not declining like the Oregon Junco. They are not at risk for extinction as of now, which is great since a lot of animals are at risk. The decline of some juncos is most likely happening in winter when food sources are hard for them to find, like how they have to dig in snow to find seeds. The juncos have to defend themselves from a lot of predators, probably like most birds do. Juncos have to hide from owls, hawks, stray cats and weasels, good thing they can fly! This is just some of the predators they need to protect themselves from. There are several interesting facts regarding the juncos, with the male juncos migrating further North than the females do. I find the junco very interesting, I hope you get the chance to study them like I have.


by Garrett

How you can tell it is the Dark Eyed junco is its brown and Orange body. The Dark Eyed junco is 5-6 inches. The male and the female have a brown body and a pink bill so yes they look the same. The Dark Eyed Junco looks like an ordinary bird flying. It sounds like a sharp tic and twittering. What makes the Dark eyed Junco so unique is that it nests on the ground. No this bird does not have any adaptations. I think this bird is beautiful. How you can tell it’s a Dark eyed Junco is its pink bill.

The Dark Eyed Junco is very common in the Rogue Valley. The Dark Eyed Juncos habitat has declined 40% in the last several years. Juncos that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate to the Southern United States. The benefits of having it in your yard in the morning because they sound beautiful when they chirp. In the winter the Dark eyed Junco flocks back.The Dark Eyed Junco can use a Bluebird’s nesting box. The Dark Eyed Junco also can build a nest near the ground. The nesting hole for the Dark eyed Junco is 1 ½ inches.

The Dark Eyed Junco eats weeds and grass seeds in the wild. You can attract it with millet. The Dark Eyed Junco does not use a feeder because it is a ground feeder. The Dark eyed Junco is a picky eater, so feed it millet white proso millet, hulled sunflower seeds and chips, and cracked corn

The Dark eyed Junco is not endangered. The Dark eyed Juncos predators are hawks, owls, cats, squirrels, chipmunks and weasels. Climate change has not affected Dark eyed Junco so we should not be concerned for the Dark eyed Juncos. 

by Brody

Hello this paragraph will be about how you can tell the dark eyed junco from different birds. The first thing you notice is that the dark eyed junco has a pink bill. Another reason is because of its orange and brown body. I think this bird is very interesting. The height of the dark eyed junco is 4.9-6.5 inches. Which is pretty small if you think about it. But that’s because the dark eyed junco is in the junco family. Also when it is flying it will look like any old bird but if it lands you can tell it apart from others. Its wingspan is about 12-16 inches wide. That’s my first paragraph about my bird. Thanks for reading.

The dark eyed juncos habitat. It lives in forests, which I think is a little bit weird since you can usually see it in town. It also lives in parks, now that you can see it in town makes a little more sense. Let’s talk about its nest. It lives in a cup shaped nest made of leaves, moss, and roots. It gathers the material when they are going to lay eggs. Its construction makes sure that other birds can’t get through the bottom. It will stay in the nest for a long time. The dark eyed junco uses a bluebird birdhouse (if it were to stay in one which would be rare). That’s the dark eyed junco’s habitat.

The Dark Eyed Junco eats berries seeds and nuts. Also unsalted peanuts, millet, and sunchips. You should just sprinkle seeds on the ground for it. It is a carnivore. The Junco is pretty much an omnivore. But it also eats disgusting bugs and insects. Here’s a weird fact: dark eyed juncos are often called Snowbirds because they come out in the snow. The Junco’s pink bill makes it distinct from the others. When you see a Junco you should pay attention to it to see all kinds of interesting stuff like its colors and flying movement!

The Dark Eyed Junco has been losing its home for a long time. It has lost forty percent of its habitat! But the Dark Eyed Junco is not endangered; it is the least concern. It is losing its habitat because of us (humans). It frequently flies into windows. The Dark Eyed Junco is not affected by climate change too much. They are most common in winter as they retreat north in spring. Make sure in winter to put something to block the windows or make the junco not fly into it.

4 thoughts on “Dark-eyed Junco

  1. That was a well written essay. as I was reading Gunnir’s article, i learned that the Dark-eyed Junco are a part of the Sparrow family.

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