Snow Bird, a well known member of the finch family, and genus junco (Wagler). With the general characters of the finch family, the middle toe is shorter than the short tarsus, the outer the longest; the wings are rather short, and the tail slightly notched; the second quill is the longest. The common-snow bird (J. hyemalis, Sclater) is about 6¼ in. long, and 9 in. in alar extent; the upper parts are nearly uniform dark plumbeous, darkest anteriorly, without any red in the interscapular region; lower parts white; the external two tail feathers white, the third white margined with black. It is found from the eastern United States to the Missouri and the Black hills of the west, and from Louisiana to the fur countries. It appears in New England from the south early in April, while the ground is covered with snow, going north to breed, and returning south late in autumn. They are found in small families, which usually keep by themselves, often visiting farm yards and hopping after domestic poultry, and in cold weather retiring into holes in hay stacks. They are fond of grass seed and berries; the flesh is delicate and juicy, and is often sold in the New Orleans market; the spring notes are agreeable.
The nest is on the ground, the entrance generally concealed; the eggs are four, three fourths by five eighths of an inch, yellowish white with numerous small reddish brown dots. A nearly allied .species in the Rocky mountains is the J. caniceps (Baird), having a reddish spot in the interscapular region but not on the wings. On the Pacific coast is the J. Oregonus (Sclat.), head and neck sooty black, a chestnut patch on the back and wings, and the belly pure white.
Snow Bird (Junco hyemalis).