Today it is the Snow Bunting! This is a bird from the high Arctic and for the snow and cold. It has come here to have a holiday. This is a lovely little bird, mostly white like the snow for camouflage. It is our little snowflake. I just love this little friendly bird.
The male Snow Bunting returns to the Arctic in April when it is still cold, around -30, but the female has the sense not to return until around six weeks later when it is warmer.
The males will all group together in flocks of 30 to 80 birds ...that would be so pretty to see. But some flocks can reach 100 to 1,000. They do defend their individual territories as the perfect rocky nest area is hard to find.
The Snow Bunting has a nest in deep cracks in rocks. They line this cold nest with fur and feathers and mosses ....the female has the task on staying on the nest for almost the entire incubation period, 12 to 16 days. The male will come and feed her. Both parents feed the young for 8 to 12 days after they leave the nest even.
The male will look more brown after the later summer molt but he is white underneath. The male wears off all of the dark tips on his feathers by rubbing them on the snow so he becomes very pretty and all white and black by the time he must attract a wife.
He likes to eat weed and grass seeds, spiders and insects. He is in the longspur family. They are very friendly to humans and will eat seed you put out. They are considered one of the toughest small birds as they go so far north. They have been spotted at the North Pole and there are only three birds spotted there, Snow Bunting, Kittiwake and Fulmar.
There has been a 63.6% decline in the species over the last 40 years but the population is not considered vulnerable as there are so many of them they say. I hope this bird will continue to thrive and come to visit us for many more years. The photos were taken at Macaulay Point where this bird was on the path and then on the rocks. He was very tame so I hope he survived.
This week at ABC is the letter "S" for Snow Bunting.
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