By Larry Rizzo | November 2, 1995
From Missouri Conservationist: Nov 1995

Missouri's snowbird, actually called the dark-eyed junco, nests in northern lands and comes here to spend the winter. The junco, which is actually a sparrow, arrives neither clothed in bright plumage nor full of song. Being a snowbird isn't a popular job; its coming forecasts shorter, colder and whiter days.

The junco is our most common winter bird and is easy to recognize: dark above, white below, with a pinkish bill. White outer tail feathers flash conspicuously when the bird takes flight. Males are darker than the gray or brownish females.

These winter birds actually begin arriving as early as late September and may stick around until the first days of May. They are common around backyard feeders but prefer to eat on the ground.

A small brush pile placed near your bird feeders will provide cover and security for juncos and other ground-feeders. (Old Christmas trees make great instant brush piles.) Scatter some millet or sunflower seeds nearby and chances are good that your yard will be a winter retreat for the snowbird.

And when the snow begins to fly, try not to blame the juncos

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Director - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Composition - Kevin Binkley
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Paul Childress
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer