Critter Highlight

Dark-Eyed Junco Who's that bird rolling in the snow outside? It just might be this month's critter, the Dark-eyed​ Junco!

The dark-eyed junco is a sparrow found throughout North America, from the Arctic circle down into central Mexico. The birds are highly migratory, but can be found in patches year-round across the United States and Canada. Their breeding range tends to be colder areas, which contributes to their alternate name, the snowbird! Juncos' nesting habits are of particular note, with the small birds preferring to nest in hollows on the ground, if possible with an overhang to help conceal the nest.

While in Maryland, the dark-eyed junco tends to have a dark grey 'slate-colored' pattern with white bellies, there are multiple regional color variations across the US, including areas where juncos have more brown colorations or patches. This time of year, it's common to see dark-eyed juncos in small flocks as they forage for food, sometimes joining together with birds of other species to look for seeds, which consist of some 75% of their diet. They're frequent bird feeder visitors in winter. Once warmer weather arrives, males will become territorial and flocks will disperse, but for now it's a pleasant sight on a snowy day to see a band of dark-eyed juncos hopping across your yard!

If you're interested in attracting more birds like juncos to your yard, sign up for our bird feeder workshop on January 15th! ​Call 410-461-5005​ for more information.​