Wednesday, October 25, 2006

snow buntings

photo from Wikipedia

The snow buntings are back for the winter. A bird has to be really far Northern Hemisphere if it considers Minnesota to be its wintering grounds. I don't know if it is called Snow Bunting because it follows the snow, or because the adults, especially the males, in winter are the nearest thing to a pure white bird that can be found anywhere. They are like the horned lark in habit, hanging around roadsides and scattering in flight like snowflakes whenever a car passes. I am told another species, Lapland Longspur, occurs in flocks with snow buntings, but I have never observed a flock long enough to identify one.

The owls are hooting. One of the "luxuries" of living here is I get to go outdoors in the middle of the night at least once. I have heard barred owls calling to each other at all hours of the night in the last few days.

It was a sunny day, finally, and I got to spend some time outdoors at work, enjoying the sunlight. That must have energized me because after I got home from work I took Togo (the husky, the outdoor dog who deserves more blog photos than he gets) for a walk. I have not done that nearly enough lately, and he sure appreciated it. Come next week, I won't have that daylight after work.

All in all, not much to blog today, but then there is so much that goes unnoticed.


pablo said...

I think it was a fine post. I love to read about the day to day in peoples lives. I don't suppose any snow buntings are going to make it as far south as Missouri.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a snow bunting. Do they stay with you all winter?
Could you get a picture?

Deb said...

pablo- thanks!

lynne- I found a photo and posted it. They do stay around all winter, but they aren't a bird you'll normally see at a feeder. If you watch the roadsides on your next visit to Hasty Brook, especially near open fields, you'll likely see a flock fly up from the roadside.

robin andrea said...

I've been playing catch up, reading some of your posts for the past few days. I love the tamarack needles. We have two tamarack in our yard. I love the color their needles turn. It's so lovely. We don't get snow buntings here, I would dearly love to see a white bird like that. We did see a pair of mature bald eagles the other day, and our very first northern harrier. Oh I love the birds that stay through winter.

You mentioned on our blog that you might be willing to burn a kate wolf cd for us. I would like to thank you for that. That is such a kind and generous offer. I'll email you today, if we don't get a copy from one or two other sources we're trying. Thank you so much, Deb.

Floridacracker said...

I was watching a video about an estuary in Scotland the other day and there were snow buntings in it. Not a bird I have seen in person.

Togo update in the future?

Deb said...

robin andrea- it is good to see tamaracks planted as yard trees, they are so beautiful. We've been seeing more eagles around here too.

I'll see if I can email you "The Red Tail Hawk" tomorrow. Glad to hear that song has so much significance in your life.

Deb said...

(hit "login and publish" a millisecond before my brain said "Wait! You forgot Floridacracker!")

So FC- in doing a little research for this post, I found out that snow buntings are circumpolar; they occur in Arctic and northern temperate zones throughout the world.

I had my camera with me as I walked Togo today, but I didn't have a chance to stop and take a good photo. Togo update to come soon, however! It's been way too long, and he's matured into a fine dog.

LauraHinNJ said...

We get snow buntings and horned larks in the beach dunes here in winter - imagine how difficult they are to see against that backdrop!

Endment said...

We only see Snow Buntings on rare occasions and not here at the house... What wonderful visitors!