Winter Visitor – Snow Bunting

Snow Buntings breed in northern Canada and Alaska and then migrate to southern Canada and the northern US for the winter. They are a handsome bird and we all look forward to seeing them, especially in the dull days of winter. We see them close to the beaches here in Massachusetts since they like open fields near water and the piles of debris that wash up on the ocean shore. They are smaller than a Robin, about 6 inches (15 cm) long, and gather in large flocks. The following photographs are from a flock of about 40 birds. These are almost all females with the browns and rusty patches that make them so colorful. The males tend to have less brown and have a dark back. That may be a male in the last photograph looking down from the curbing into some weeds to find some seeds.

There will be plenty of chances to observe these birds over the winter. And we always scan the flocks carefully to see if there are any Larkspurs or Horned Larks that have joined up with them. That’s an extra treat.

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