There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis

Size of a large sparrow
Non-breeding (pictured):
   White underparts
   Pale brown and white upperparts
   Rust-brown band across top of chest
   Pale brown tipped feathers on forehead, crown, nape, and face 
   Black wingtips
   White wing patches and outer tail feathers
   Black inner tail feathers
   Yellowish-orange bill with black tip
Breeding male:
   Mostly white plumage 
   Black back and wingtips
   Black bill
Breeding female:
   White plumage
   Blackish-gray back and wingtips
   White head streaked with gray
   Black bill

Listen to its call.

I photographed this little fellow while enjoying an afternoon at Clover Point last Thursday. It was a lovely fall day, with very little wind or no rain for a change. Not that cold weather would bother this bird. Winter is the time to see Snow Buntings in our area. In the spring, they head north to spend their summers in the Arctic. 

Learn more about the Snow Bunting.

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