During the breeding/nesting season, dark-eyed juncos like eating insects and mealworms... but at the bird feeder, they prefer millet. They also like sunflower seeds and apples.
Dark-eyed juncos are insectivores that will eat any small animal food given to them. They have been known to eat snails, slugs, earthworms, and even small frogs. However, they do not usually eat birds or other animals larger than their own size.
In the wild, insects make up most of a junco's diet, but in captivity, they usually eat a mixture of insects and food available at the bird feeder. Juncos may accept bread as a substitute for fruit if no other food is available. Seeds, corn, and wheat are all suitable additions to bird feeders. Juncos are generally more likely to take food out of dishware rather than out of a bag or container; this is especially true if the food is near the ground. They will also eat suet if there is no alternative food available. Birds cannot digest fat so it passes through their systems undigested.
Juncos are common residents of both manmade and natural habitats throughout most of North America. In winter, they often number in the millions across the continent.
During the fall and winter, dark-eyed juncos consume insects, non-insect arthropods, and seeds. During the breeding season, dark-eyed juncos mostly feed on insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and ants. They also consume the seeds of several plant species.
In addition to eating value-added products, birds need nutrients that only exist in certain insects or other animal products. Birds therefore rely on us for the nutrients they do not find in their natural diet. We provide these by feeding the animals with insect meal or fishmeal.
Birds can make use of this food despite it being foreign to their normal diet because the nutrients present in these foods are identical to those found in plants they would normally eat. This is called "nutritional complementation."
For example, birds cannot make vitamin C themselves so they must obtain this from other sources in their regular diet. Vitamin C is needed for proper immune system function but also for skin, bone, and feather growth.
When provided in adequate amounts, these supplements will not cause any problems for birds. However, if given in excess or if the animal's digestive system is unable to utilize them then these elements may cause health issues.
The nutritional values of bird feed vary depending on the type of product and the brand used.
Juncos are granivorous, ground-feeding birds that mostly consume seeds and grains. Hulled sunflower seeds, white proso millet, and cracked maize are all favorites. Because they eat close to the ground, a low platform feeder or open tray is ideal. Provide fresh water in a dish every day.
In addition to seeds, juncos will also eat suet, fruit, insects, and worms. Offer a variety of foods so they don't just stick to one thing. You can also try putting peanut butter on some bread and offering that instead!
Seeds that have been exposed to sunlight or light from a lamp will lose much of their nutritional value over time. So be sure to buy dark, dry seeds to ensure that your juncos get the most out of their food.
Cracked corn is simply freshly milled corn that has not yet been cooked or polished. It can be used as an additive for bird food, or served alone as a snack for humans. Cracked corn is available in various sizes and prices. The larger the kernel, the longer it has been since it was harvested. Most cracked corn is processed within a few days of being harvested to prevent spoiling due to bacteria growth. However, you may see "fresh" cracked corn available at certain times of the year if it has been frozen immediately after harvesting.