8 Cool Snowbird Facts About Juncos

Get the facts about one of winter's favorite birds.

  1. Named for its natural habitat of Guadalupe Island, the Guadalupe junco,  unique to Mexico, is now endangered. There may be fewer than 100 left in the world.
  2. Dark-eyed juncos make their home in woodland areas and can live to be 11 years old.
  3. Beginning in 1924, biologist William Rowan’s research on dark-eyed juncos revealed that these migratory birds respond more to changes in daylight than temperature.
  4. Attract juncos to your backyard feeder with millet. This small seed comes in two types, red and white.
  5. The many subspecies of dark-eyed juncos fall into five major groups: gray-headed, Oregon, pink-sided, slate-colored and white-winged.
  6. Baby, it’s cold outside! Juncos grow down jackets. Their coat of feathers is 30% heavier in winter than in summer.
  7. Sure, they’ve got wings, but juncos prefer to hop around the forest floor, spending as much as 65% of their time on the ground.
  8. Dark-eyed juncos are nicknamed snowbirds, as they seem to bring snowy winter weather on their wings. In the colder months they travel in flocks of 15 to 25 from the evergreen forests to backyards all over the U.S.