Dark-eyed Junco / Junco ardoisé (Junco hyemalis)

8 March

A tiny sparrow that comes south to Montreal in winter in the same way Montrealers head for Florida. Small flocks of them can be found on the snow wherever there is food to be gathered – especially under seed feeders in gardens where they clear up after the messier birds have scattered seeds on the ground. They will go onto feeders but much prefer to gather their food on the ground. Found all across Canada, there are fifteen distinct forms of this species, four or five visually distinguishable, which many people will consider to be be different species, but they are not. The one we see here in the east is the Slatey-backed Junco. in breeding season they are up on the dense boreal forest but winter habit is for more open spaces. Welcome visitors and cheery friends in winter.