Snow Bunting © Lee Millet

Take 5: Snow Buntings

The Snow Bunting is the quintessential winter songbird visitor: they breed in the Arctic in summer, making their nests in the rocky tundra, and only visit Massachusetts when they “fly south” for the winter. In fact, their breeding range is so far north that it exceeds that of all other North American passerines (“passerine” is a large order of birds that is mostly defined by feet adapted for perching, which includes all songbirds).

This beautiful coastal and grassland bird is a regular migrant and winter visitor in Massachusetts, but individuals can be difficult to spot as they are extremely well camouflaged against the ground and snow. Your best bet for an encounter is to look in wide-open fields with plenty of crop stubble to hide in, among sand dunes along the coast, or along lake or ocean shores where debris piles up along the waterline. Race Point in Provincetown, on Cape Cod, is a popular place for spotting Snow Buntings. And, of course, you should consider joining a naturalist-led birding program for even more opportunities to spot these and other winter visitors throughout Massachusetts.

Here are five sublime photos of Snow Buntings from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Snow Bunting © Lee Millet
Snow Bunting © Lee Millet
Snow Bunting © Anne Greene
Snow Bunting © Anne Greene
Snow Bunting © Fred Hosley
Snow Bunting © Fred Hosley
Snow Bunting © Myer Bornstein
Snow Bunting © Myer Bornstein
Snow Buntings © Simi Rabinowitz
Snow Buntings © Simi Rabinowitz

1 thought on “Take 5: Snow Buntings

  1. Emily Curewitz

    I have only seen them twice. Both times at Wachusett Reservoir. But then again, I seldom go out in the winter as I am extremely sensitive to the cold

    Reply

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