26 January 2011

Not-so Wordless Wednesday: Wondrous Winter Wings

One of the best parts of winter is the arrival of the snow buntings, also known as 'snowbirds'. These charming little songbirds are a very good excuse for me to hide behind a curtain in the house, trying to photograph them through snow- and salt-splashed windows. (It was far too cold the past couple of days to go outside and hang around trying to stalk these little guys.)
Snow buntings prefer open ground, and you will see drifts of them along roadsides, in farm fields, or large open spaces like we have at our property. They are not often seen in cities, for obvious reasons. Neither am I, though, so I can relate to them. They're also really, REALLY skittish, so I was pleased to get as decent shots as I did. They land on the west side of our barn roof, and start working their way up to the peak...

...pretty much constantly moving around

...then there are four...

Then there are more. Getting brave now, they start landing on the ground where there's a variety of seed: corn, wheat, millet, safflower, sunflower, niger, suet and peanuts.
They drop down like grapes, from wherever they've been perched, and they move almost constantly, picking, feeding...
The slightest move or sound from inside the house, and they'll take off, land on the house roof, then start dropping down again
Then maybe take a spin around to go sit in the poplars for a bit and talk...
I don't know where they roost at night, but until a few days ago, we hadn't seen them here. Then, like the photos, at first there were three or four. Then a dozen. Then several dozen. Now, I've no idea how many--this is only part of the flock.
Later this winter, the snow buntings will head north to the tundra of the Arctic, where they breed and raise their young. I'll miss them when they're gone, but will look forward to their visiting again next year.


  1. You captured some lovely photos of the snow buntings Jodi. I wish I would see them in my area.

  2. Oh my gosh, you have snow buntings for feeder birds. You lucky lady. They are such pretty little birds. They do winter this far south. We see them in the fields with Lapland Longspurs during winter. One of my winter favorites.

  3. Lovely. I adore birds and haven't seen many thing winter. Thanks for snapping! And for feeding them.

    No wonder your cats want out all the time. These birds must be a real temptation to them.

  4. Thanks for your comments, everyone! Lisa, I'm intrigued at how far south these little guys range. Crafty, they should be in your area, but they do like open spaces, so they're something you see in rural settings.
    Charmian, the cats are hilarious. They sit in the window and make speeches at the birds, but the only ones who go out at all are the two senior cats, who are both 13+ years old and only go out for constitutional purposes.

  5. They are so precious. Your images are wonderful of the little cuties.

  6. Great photos! I have only seen snow buntings from a distance in farm fields in northern Wisconsin.

  7. Oh my gosh those are some of the cutest birds I've never seen in real life! All the photos are great, but I really like the one of them on the roof, with one taking flight. Very interesting info about those 'snowbirds'. I'll have to see if they venture to Cape Cod (where I am temporarily). If so, I'll be on the lookout for them!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing...I'll keep hoping they find their way to my side of the bay. At least I will know EXACTLY what I am looking at when they do.

  9. Very cute! And they have a very precious name, as well. Never seen them before!

  10. I've never seen snow buntings. They are cool looking birds. I almost missed the third one peeking over the roof. Great shots!

  11. What delightful birds Jodi! Your story and photographs are great! How fun to have so many. It must be very animated around your house with all their flying off and back again then dropping down!

  12. They are new to me - how wonderful to have them come and brighten up your winter!

  13. Every few years these are reported in NC, although I have never seen them before. Enjoyed this post, what a treat!

  14. What a sweet post, Jodi. They are adorable little birds. Such lovely photos you've taken of them. They know where you live and have come to expect a gourmet feast upon their arrival. Smart little birds!

  15. Lovely photos!

    Here in New York City, I only see pigeons and seagulls. It's great to see that there are gorgeous birds in other locations during this cold winter frost.

  16. Great photos through your window! They are such pretty birds, probably never come this far south though.

  17. Now I can't get that Anne Murray song out of my head..."spread your tiny wings and fly away". At least I know now what she was singing about.


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