Junco Attraction Techniques

Junco Attraction Techniques

Junco Attraction Techniques.

During the winter, juncos are one of the most sought-after birds to see at bird feeders. However, if you don’t have any juncos visiting your backyard buffet just yet, how can you get them to come? It is not difficult to get juncos to visit your yard on a regular basis.

Why We Are So Fond of Juncos

The dark-eyed junco is a species of sparrow that may be identified by its pale beak and its white outer tail feathers.

These lively birds are full of life and vitality as they bounce about with both feet in search of food, and as a result, they are welcomed at many feeders throughout the winter months. Although juncos may be seen year-round in some regions of North America, they are considerably more common during the winter months since that is the time of year when they are most likely to attend feeding stations.

The dark-eyed junco is a single species, but there are multiple subspecies of it, and these subspecies can look very different from one another depending on where they live. This is because the differences in these birds’ plumage are most noticeable in populations that are located in different parts of the world.

Some subspecies overlap, which may provide backyard birders an even greater incentive to attract juncos and enjoy a broader variety of birds at their feeders. Some subspecies overlap can be found in the table below.

In addition to the common junco, the yellow-eyed junco is another species of junco that may eat at bird feeders in residential yards. However, despite having a very small range, this species is only found in the southwesternmost parts of the states of Arizona and New Mexico in the United States. However, in contrast to other types of juncos, it is easy to lure them to feeders that are located inside their range.

How to Get the Attention of Juncos

Juncos are frequent visitors to bird-friendly backyards as long as their fundamental requirements for food, water, shelter, and places to nest are satisfied. Those who appreciate watching birds in their backyards will be happy to learn that it is simple to fulfill those requirements in order to have a juncos visit.


Juncos are granivores, and their top food choices are cracked corn, hulled sunflower seeds and chips, white proso millet, and chips. Because juncos eat on the ground, the ideal feeders for them are low platform feeders or open trays. However, just scattering seeds on the ground might also attract juncos.

1 Because they are more likely to visit feeders during the winter, it may be prudent to choose a feeder with an enormous roof that will keep snow off the seed or to install feeders under a covered location, such as under an outdoor table, in order to prevent snow from falling on the seed.

Providing juncos with natural sources of seed may be accomplished by planting seed-bearing grasses and flowers. Some examples of seed-bearing flowers and grasses are coneflowers, marigolds, and ragweed. The natural food supplies that these birds may readily find if they are attracted will be preserved if you leave the leaf litter intact in the fall.


Although dark-eyed juncos, like all other species of birds, are able to melt snow in their bills in order to drink throughout the winter, they will still quickly visit birdbaths in order to get an easier drink.

During the winter months, a heated birdbath is a wonderful addition to any yard. However, in order for the bath to be the most appealing to juncos, it should be placed low to the ground and in close proximity to thick shrubbery for shelter. If the ice doesn’t form on them throughout the winter, even smaller water features like ponds or cascades over rocks might entice juncos to visit.

However, you should not put antifreeze compounds into any water sources since these substances are poisonous to birds. 2 Shelter These sparrows seek refuge in shrubs and low coniferous trees on a regular basis; but, in times of severe weather, they may seek refuge in bird roost boxes.

If your landscaping isn’t exactly junco-friendly, you can still offer juncos with a suitable covered location to roost by avoiding pruning your bushes and shrubs in the autumn and waiting until spring to perform any trimming.

This will give the juncos time to settle in for the winter. The addition of a brush pile to the yard might also serve as a suitable refuge for juncos. They may also seek refuge below woodpiles, sheds, decks, or other buildings provided that there are even the tiniest of openings through which they may get access.

Nesting Sites: The nests of juncos are constructed relatively low in the canopy of small trees, in tree cavities, or in rock heaps for protection. Even if these elements are absent from a yard, it is still possible for nesting juncos to be attracted to the area if suitable nesting materials are provided for them.

These materials include pine needles, moss, small twigs, and animal hair. Because juncos do not reuse their nests for subsequent broods, birdwatchers who do have juncos breeding nearby will find that it is simple to destroy those nests after the chicks have flown the nest.

It is possible that this will stimulate juncos to construct more nests later in the season. This is particularly likely to occur in the southern regions of these species, where it is normal for them to have several broods.

Additional Suggestions on How to Appeal to Juncos

Even though juncos may be found in yards without much of a struggle most of the time, if you have a yard that is conducive to the presence of juncos but doesn’t have any of these birds, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to stay.

It is important to discourage stray cats since they pose a significant hazard to ground-feeding birds and should be avoided.
Make sure there is enough space in the feeding area for big groups of hungry juncos to congregate.
It is important to keep the feeding area free of stale seeds and old hulls, since they may bury the new seeds.
If you want to prevent the juncos from being disturbed by bigger birds, you may put a cage above the feeding location.
Keep the snow cleared from the places that the birds like to feed in so that the seed is easier for them to get.
Any birder who takes the time to attract juncos to their territory will be rewarded with a flock of hungry, inquisitive, and amusing birds that they may watch during the whole winter.

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