The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is the most well-known species of the Juncos, a genus of small grayish American sparrows. Easily recognizable by their crisp markings and bright tail feathers they are one of the most abundant forest birds of North America.
They're called "snow birds" since in most of the eastern U.S. they appear as winter sets in and retreat northward by springtime. Their appearance at backyard feeders in temperate areas is considered a sign of winter's arrival.
In North America, Black-eyed Juncos are one of the most common birds, found across the continent from Alaska to Mexico, California to New York. Recent counts place the total junco population at about 530 million. (Wonder who did all that counting?)
Dark-eyed Juncos are mainly seed-eaters and at feeders, prefer millet over sunflower seeds. During breeding season, they also eat insects, including beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, flies and even wasps.