About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why birds scratch in the dirt

photo from Wikimedia Commons
I watch the Juncos browsing everywhere other birds DON'T go, under the trees and bushes, in the dirt next to the house, and on top of the snow. What are they eating? and how do they get any nutrition out of, what appears to be thatch?- John in Milford

Juncos eat grass seeds or insects on the ground that they find by scratching at leaf litter. The scratching behavior is common to a lot of ground feeding birds. Like mini chickens, it is their way of finding bugs and seeds buried previously by the wind or other creatures.

They also could be looking for little stones or grit. The grit is swallowed and remains in the part of their digestive system called the gizzard to help grind up their food.

Thank you Sarah....We just love all of our creatures, it sure has been a tough winter for all of them! 

Related Articles:
-Fun Facts About Juncos http://bit.ly/pgewJn 
-What birds like Safflower seed? http://bit.ly/puRjIr
-Sparrows Native to mid-Michigan http://bit.ly/nURO99
-Do the same birds show up at the same feeders year after year? http://bit.ly/GMaOYV

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