Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Bird 2010?

My sister tells me (in her "Don't be so stupid" tone of voice) that I have to consider the pigeons at the airport as my first birds of 2010, but honestly, I didn't look at them!  They were just there in my line of vision!

Truly, my first bird of 2010 is this little beauty, who was patiently waiting for me to return home after being held hostage by Continental for almost 20 hours at the Newark airport.

[I'd like to extend a warm thank you to the airline for finally getting me home minutes before the big snow started flying, and to Mother Nature for holding off on the forecasted storm until I arrived safely in the boondocks!  All I can say is, "Whew! That was close!"]

So, okay, if I play by the rules, the pigeon was my first 2010 sighting.  That stinks.  But this little Snow Bunting(Plectrophenax nivalis), certainly was eye candy to the weary traveler. I've only ever seen them, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, in the farmer's fields during the cold winter months here in Maine, and never this close up!  I imagine this little guy is kind of lonely.

Snow Buntings nest and breed during the summer months way up north in the Arctic, moving south, as indicated on the map to the right, in search of food during the winter.  They are ground feeders and a tasty treat for them is comprised of seeds and insects.  

They nest in rock cavities and return to the tundra very early in the spring to ensure that they get the best spots!  Men who cook are always my favorite, and the Snow Bunting male is right up there on my list!  Because of the location of their nests deep in the rocks, it stays mighty cold.  In order to preserve energy and life, the male feeds the female on the nest during the entire incubation period.  Her sole job is to keep those eggs warm and cozy and safe.  Predators aren't a huge problem because their nests are so tucked away.

Presently, they are on the "of least concern" list in both their winter and summer habitats.

1 comment:

Carrie P. said...

Oh, what a sweet little bird.