DARK-EYED JUNCO (Junco hyemalis)
The dark-eyed junco is a year-round resident in PEI. It is part of the large sparrow family, and can often be observed foraging on the ground with other members of that family, such as the white-throated sparrow. The male junco is dark grey with a white belly, and shows outer white feathers on its tail when flying. The female has less marked colors. The bird has a seed eater bill, but it will also eat insects. It eats the sunflower seeds by crushing them in its bill, whereas the black-capped chickadee – and the blue jay – will hold the seed between its feet and peck at it until it opens up. The dark-eyed junco is a frequent visitor around bird feeders (video below).
On this video of a dark-eyed junco one can watch the bird ‘triturating’ black sunflower seeds in its bill to obtain the seed inside. Taken on March 14, 2014.