Behavior & MigrationDo Juncos Use Nestboxes?

Do Juncos Use Nestboxes?

Q:  Do Juncos use nestboxes?

A:  Normally, no.  But there are rare reports of Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) using open front nestboxes, woodpecker holes and regular nestboxes in residential areas (specifically boxes mounted on houses.)

Dark-eyed Juncos are usually open-cup nesters, although they do sometimes nest in crevices near the ground.  However, there are a few verified reports of Juncos nesting in a woodpecker hole and nestboxes. Since some people misidentify birds, it is best to have photographic evidence of this type of unusual behavior.

  • Dark-eyed Junco, photo by Jack Bulmer, on Pixabay
    Dark-eyed Junco, photo by Jack Bulmer

    There are two historical reports of Dark-eyed Juncos nesting in an existing hole created by woodpeckers, according to Nestwatch. (one in Bent 1968?)

  • One report of juncos nesting a box that looks like Orthwein’s Carolina Wren design in 2009, and then a different pair on TOP of the same box in 2016 (location?).  This box is shallow, with a large slot type entrance.
  • One report in 2016 (with photos) of Dark-eyed Juncos using a nestbox mounted on Melissa Sherwood’s house in Washington.  This box was shallow and wide and had a circular entrance.
  • One report in 2017 (with photos) of a junco using a chalet style  decorative nestbox also mounted on a house in Napa Valley, CA.

Dark-eyed Juncos bred from April to August, laying 3-5 eggs (rarely 6).  Incubation lasts 10-13 days.  Young fledge in 10-13 days.  (Harrison 1978)  Depending on the climate, they may have 2 or 3 broods per season.


  • List of cavity nesters
  • Nestwatch report on juncos using nestbox in WA retrieved from
  • Juncos Nest in a Birdhouse, Part Two, NestWatch retrieved from
  • FAQs
  • Bent, A. C. (O. L. Austin, Jr., ed.). 1968. Life histories of North American cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings, towhees, finches, sparrows, and allies. 3 Parts. U.S. Natl. Mus.
    Bull. 237. 1889pp
  • Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of North American birds. W. Collins Sons and Co., Cleveland, OH. 416pp.

Don’t believe everything you think


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