Country Birder... and Butterflies 

Snow Bunting
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Snow Bunting.  We had a Valentine's Day blizzard in 2007, which brought masses of Snow Buntings and Horned Larks to the snow-scoured landscape, attracted to the bird seed blown from the feeders.  Note that these birds are in their non-breeding plumage.  Many field guides and online references show the male example in black/white breeding plumage, which looks little at all like these photos.
Central Indiana - February 14, 2007
Snow Bunting.  I had seen Horned Larks in the harsh winter weather, foraging for blown seeds when the snow covered the ground.  But this was a first for Snow Buntings.  They remind me of toasted marshmallows with their soft white coloring and toasted warm brown markings.  While I'd love to see these charming visitors again, I'm not sure I care for another blizzard to bring them here!
Central Indiana - February 14, 2007.
Snow Bunting, shown left of common House Sparrow for size reference.
Central Indiana - February 14, 2007.
Snow Buntings in flight.  We did have enough snow in late January/early February 2009 to bring the Snow Buntings to the feeders is high numbers.  I participated in a winter bird count project, and on one occasion counted at least 200 Snow Buntings.  If you click the photo to the left to bring it up in a larger size on your screen, you will be able to appreciate the beautiful markings on these winter visitors.  They have very large white wing patches, and black tips to their wings.  In flight, the black and white patches on the wing and tail make a stunning display against a snowy backdrop.
Central Indiana - January 29, 2009
Snow Buntings at rest in maple tree.  For the majority of the time the Snow Buntings remained on the ground feeding from seed blown  out or scattered by other birds.  And if startled, they would fly as a flock to a distant spot in the field before promptly returning.  Toward the final days of their visit, I noticed them taking to the tree top when startled rather than flying a distance out to the field.   A few even would feed from the above-ground covered platform/hopper feeder.
Central Indiana - February 4, 2009
Snow Bunting
Central Indiana - January 28, 2009

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