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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Snow Buntings Are Coming Your Way, Be On The Lookout

Snow Bunting in flight

Snow Buntings are now showing up in NH and other northern areas so watch for them in your area. To see where they have been spotted go to this ebird map. Photographed a few years ago with my Canon 1D Mark II (I now have a 1D Mark IV), and my Canon 300mm f 4 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter. When I photographed them it made me think about what it might be like to be a member of this Snow Bunting flock. There's safety in numbers. The bold pattern of the wings may help flock members keep close visual contact in flight. Interestingly, when the birds land and fold their wings, the buffy, brownish body plumage makes them rather camouflaged against the brown grass, another help with predator avoidance.

Snow Buntings breed in Alaska and the Arctic on tundra and rocky slopes. They winter across much of the upper one-third of the U.S, and southern Canada on weedy fields and shores. In summer, the buffy feather edges wear off, revealing the breeding plumage which is more black-and-white 
especially in males. 

Snow Buntings make interesting calls and learning their calls can alert you to their presence and help in identification You can become a much better birder if you know the songs and calls of birds. To help you we have the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, CDs (recordings by Lang Elliott and Kevin Colver) which come as The Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs CDs eastern region, western region, or combined together in a boxed set. 

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