There are birds we see in our yards that we rarely or never see perched on our feeders. Those we see in our yard are members of the sparrow family. Most are migrants — White-throated, White-crowned, Lincoln’s, American Tree, Chipping, Song, and Swamp would be most usual.


There is one exception: Dark-eyed Junco.


Juncoes are a common winter bird here, moving south from their Canadian breeding grounds.

A friend who lives in northeast Minneapolis recently mentioned a junco perched on one of his feeders, the first time he had seen that, he said. So, the next day I saw three juncoes feeding from the perches of our feeders. I’ll assume I just hadn’t paid attention until he mentioned it.


They will take seed knocked to the ground by other birds using the feeders, or you can spill some yourself. 


Seed spread on the ground near cover can bring some of those migrant sparrows to your yard in the spring, a nice change from the usual neighborhood visitors.


There is one other exception, of course, the House Sparrow, which is not a sparrow at all. Officially in the family known as Old World sparrows, they not native here, imports from Europe. And, officially, they are not sparrows in any case. They are members of the weaver finch family. (Take a close look at the woven mess that is their nest.)




Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii  |  

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations

parts per million


January 10, 2017

405.95 ppm


January 10, 2016

401.96 ppm