The White-throated Sparrows migrate alongside our juncos, or "snowbirds", and arrive in our area at the same time, usually late fall. They will keep us company through the winter and begin to head back north to their breeding grounds in time for spring.
Don't look for these birds on your feeders. Like juncos, they prefer to feed on the ground, cleaning up the seed spilled by other birds on feeders above.
Unlike most of our songbirds, the white-throated sparrow loves to eat millet seed. Attract these, as well as juncos, to your feeding area by spreading seed on the ground or by using a ground feeding tray.
Wild Birds Unlimited Select Blend is the perfect seed for these winter visitors. Loaded with millet, our Select Blend is a great way to keep these winter visitors happy and healthy during their stay in our backyards.
Individual White-throated Sparrows have either white stripes on their head or tan stripes. These distinct color forms are genetic in origin. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and each bird almost always mates with a bird whose stripe color is opposite from their own.
White-throated Sparrows with white striped heads are known to sing and contribute to the defense of their breeding. Tan striped females do not exhibit the same behavior.
White-throated Sparrows are known to migrate at night and begin their flights around sunset. Some research studies suggest they use star patterns as one means of navigation.
Watch for White-throated Sparrows feeding on the ground while flipping aside leaves with their bill or by scratching away the leaf litter with a series of quick kicks with their feet.
White-throated Sparrows and the Dark-eyed Juncos have been known to occasionally mate and produce hybrids.
White-throated Sparrows show loyalty to their winter territories and are likely to return to the same areas each year.
To listen to the White-throated Sparrow's distinctive call Click Here.
Juncos spend the entire winter in flocks averaging in size from six to thirty or more birds.
Dark-eyed Juncos tend to return to the same area each winter. Chances are that you have many of the same birds at your feeder this winter that you had in previous years.
Visiting flocks of juncos will usually stay within an area of about 10 acres during their entire winter stay.
Juncos migrate at night at very low altitudes and are susceptible to collisions with communication towers and other structures.
Each winter flock of juncos has a dominance hierarchy with adult males at the top, then juvenile males, adult females and young females at the bottom. You can often observe individuals challenging the status of others with aggressive displays of lunges and tail flicking.
Juncos have over 30 percent more feathers (by weight) in the winter than they do in summer.
Juncos prefer to roost in evergreens at night but will also use tall grasses and brush piles. They return to the same roost location repeatedly and will share it with other flock mates, but they do not huddle together.
The name junco is derived from the Latin word for the “rush” plant found in wetlands.
According to Project Feeder Watch, juncos are sighted at more feeding areas across North America than any other bird. Over 80% percent of those responding report juncos at their feeders.
Juncos are known to burrow through snow in search of seeds that have been covered over.
You may not like these weeds in your yard, but the seeds of chickweed, ragweed, knotweed, pigweed, lamb’s quarters and crabgrass are some of the main natural seed sources used by juncos.
You can attract juncos to your yard by feeding a seed blend containing millet and hulled sunflower seeds.
Hear what juncos sound like. Click Here.