Surely you’ve heard that some birds fly south for the winter, right? Well, dark-eyed juncos fly south too, but for them, northern Illinois is part of their southern winter territory. They spend their summers up north in Canada, then show up in our area around October each year, staying put until late winter or early spring.
These little birds, which belong to the sparrow family, are one of the most common birds in North America, occupying all of Canada and the United States and parts of northern Mexico for at least part of the year. They are pretty easy to identify based on their round gray or brownish-gray bodies, white bellies and peach or pinkish bills. While they are here, they are a common sight around bird feeders, often eating spilled seed from the ground around the feeders. In the warmer months, they also eat some insects, including ants, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars and flies.