I ‘ve had new visitors at my feeder recently, Dark-eye Junco also known as “snow birds”. They appeared a few weeks ago during our first snow, and I must say the pictures don’t do them justice. They are beautiful birds, a grayish black with a white belly and pink colored beak. The prefer colder climates, which explains why they have suddenly appeared at my feeder.
My research has shown that the Dark-eyed Junco visits backyard feeders in the winter, but breed in forests across Canada, the western U.S., and in the Appalachians. I recently added a tube feeder to my feeding station, my tree, because the platform feeder holds the snow. I’ve learned that the Dark-eye Junco actually prefer the platform feeder. They are called snow birds because they love the snow. They have interesting habits, they will lay in the snow covered platform feeder and just chill or you will find them scouring the snow covered ground for dropped seed.
If you want to attract these entertaining birds to your backyard feeder, use a platform feeder and fill it with millet, bread crumbs, cracked corn or hulled sunflower seeds. Remember, platform feeders need to be emptied and cleaned more often than tube feeders because they’re open to the elements. Seed should be fresh. I try to add fresh seed at least twice a week to my platform feeder.
Now that I know the Dark-eyed Junco likes bread crumbs, I think I will toast a few slices of bread and keep them on hand to add to the feeder since I don’t have hulled sunflower seeds. I may make a cracked corn purchase as well. Most backyard birds like cracked corn. I use black oil sunflower seed mostly since it is the seed of choice for backyard birds. I’m looking forward to watching my new visitors frolicking in our fresh snow.
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