Dark-eyed Juncos: 10 Fun Facts

Birdorable Dark-eyed Juncos in the snow

Dark-eyed Juncos are small migratory songbirds that live across parts of North America. Here are some cool facts about the Dark-eyed Junco: 1) Because of their high population (estimated at 630 million individuals!), their relative tameness, and their affinity for back yard bird feeders, the Dark-eyed Junco is one of North America's most recognized birds. 2) The oldest known wild Dark-eyed Junco lived to be at least eleven years old! The average lifespan for a bird that survives to fledge is about three years. 3) The Dark-eyed Junco is a species of sparrow, closely related to White-crowned Sparrows, Harris's Sparrows, and others. 4) Up to 15 different subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco are recognized. These are usually divided into five (sometimes six) major groups: Slate-colored Junco; White-winged Junco; Oregon Junco; Pink-sided Junco; and Gray-headed Junco.

5 major groups of Dark-eyed Juncos

5) The four-letter code that banders and birders use for the Dark-eyed Junco is DEJU. 6) Many Americans consider Dark-eyed Juncos to be "snow birds" because they appear at backyard feeders during the winter months. However, DEJUs live year-round in other parts of the USA, including across parts of the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. 7) Most Dark-eyed Junco nests are comprised of four eggs; incubation takes about 12 days. Baby juncos begin life totally helpless but are able to leave the nest just 10 days after hatching! They are completely independent from their parents after just 26 days. 8) Dark-eyed Juncos are susceptible to nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds. 9) Dark-eyed Juncos move in flocks during the winter, numbering from a handful to 30 or more individuals. A complex hierarchy based in part on testosterone levels exists within the group, with adult males dominating over juvenile males, adult females and juvenile females. The flock usually remains in a territory of about ten acres during the entire season. 10) Dark-eyed Juncos are known for eating seeds at feeding stations, but they also eat insects. During the summer, nearly half of their diet may consist of insects. If you can't get enough of Dark-eyed Juncos, you're in luck! We have the five most common sub-species of DEJU on Birdorable. We also have some cute designs featuring these loveable birds: Three Christmas Songbirds; Snow Birds; Junco Junkie; and J is for Junco.

Birdorable Dark-eyed Junco t-shirt designs


Tough Titmouse on July 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM wrote:
A.W.E.S.O.M.E. We've been on vacation for two weeks in Florida, which gave me a great chance to see birds! It's THE easiest thing to get close to a great blue heron once you find one, and Soooooo many brown pelicans! We saw an Osprey, but that was a plane. LOL. and Cardinals there too. Amazing.
Anna Victoria on December 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM wrote:
These birds are amazing. I am doing a research project on it with some friends! These birds are truly amazing and beautiful.
Walt Linsenbigler on April 18, 2016 at 5:33 PM wrote:
This is the second year in row that a pair has picked our patio rock wall to nest in. It's covered in English ivy but does not fool out house cats. Kitties are staying in for a couple weeks until the four little ones fledge 😿
Nancy Lewis on July 30, 2016 at 12:42 AM wrote:
We have had a pair of DEJU sitting on three eggs on our front gate. They just hatched today. She built her nest inside an artificial pine branch wreath. We were surprised when we found the nest, the gate is used daily. We have been very careful when we open it and go in and out, trying not to disturb her. It should be fun, watching the progress of these three baby DEJU's. I'm looking forward to it.
Louise Warner on February 25, 2017 at 12:38 PM wrote:
we have a LOT of dark eyed juncos at our house, you can have some! we have enough!
Mo Michael on April 13, 2017 at 12:39 AM wrote:
My little friend the Oregon Junco decided to pick the top of the fire extinguisher box outside my apartment door for her spot to nest. On top on the box are plastic like branches to keep someone from placing anything in top of the box. The bird wove pine needles around those branches and nestled down between the plastic branches. A perfect fit. She has been nesting for 2 days now. Strict orders to my boys not to touch or bother her or the nest. So excited! I have been an Audubon follower since I was a child.
Chara Mo on June 28, 2021 at 2:25 AM wrote:
We have an Oregon Junko who twice tried to build her nest in our plastic garage light area. After taking it down for the second time, she put her nest in one of three giant planters along the front of our house by our front door. She laid four eggs but only three hatched. They should be about ready to start their lives now. Three dogs barking and running by, me watering-only to the side, has to have prepared them for their new life.
Spurwing Plover on January 25, 2022 at 8:22 AM wrote:
We have the Oregon Juncos in our area we see them in the Winter when there is snow on the ground we call them Snowbirds
Lynne Braga on February 10, 2022 at 4:58 AM wrote:
I just did a collage picture of a sweet little Junco (Oregon type, I imagine) who landed on my balcony with its friend and were making quite a bit of noise. Probably looking for food--I was happy to see one of them poking around in my pot of moss. Not sure I've ever seen one previously--charming !
Brenda Rechel on March 23, 2023 at 12:01 AM wrote:
Had a Junco that didn’t fly south as they don’t stick around northern WI. He figured out how to get in our barn so I hung feeders for him. He would fly out on sunny days when I would open the man door for him. Just found him dead in the barn as I haven’t seen him flying around for the past week. I was really hoping he would make it to spring. He had a hiding place among the hay bales that probably kept him warm on cold nights. Sad to see he didn’t make it:(

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