Sunday, December 18, 2005

Return of the Snow Buntings

Just this week while driving home I was fortunate to observe several large flocks of snow buntings [Plectrophenax nivalis] out in the open fields near here. They were around last winter too but appear to be more abundant this year that before. Back the 70’s when I was posted in the Arctic I frequently observed them there during the summer. According to the literature in winter they come down to these latitudes almost right across North America. They have a very white patch on their wings which is very visible as they swirl over the fields. I could see them land in areas where the snow layer is thin and usually wind swept, presumably to feed on the seeds exposed on the bare earth. They are quite the site to see.

No comments: