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MARINERMAGNUM

Snow Bunting behavior

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With the wind blowing 30-40mph and -30-40 wchill,I drove around for a little while and caught sight of a flock of Snow Buntings. They were doing what most other birds were doing today-hanging around on the edges of roads pickin and grinnin tryin to get some grit going or whatever they do. I also noticed Juncos,Sparrows,and the other locals doin the same. What I had trouble understanding was that in a stretch of road where there was some wind protection via a stand of trees,the SB's would always opt for staying out in the open and facing the strong wind.

The road shoulder didn't change,and they would fly down and back,but avoid the the protected area while other birds did exactly the opposite and hung around where the wind was more tame. Blowing snow just peppered those little buggers.

The only conclusion I could come up with was maybe they are paranoid about a Raptor being in the trees? Or like the Yeti,they welcome having their giblets froze off?

I would love to hear input from anyone on this.

I tried to get an image of them and was ready to snap the shutter when-poof they were gone-and the reason was clear when I heard a voice say "hey! have ya got car trouble?" mad

Uh,no.No thanks. Thanks for asking. "Ok" Bye. "What are ya doin out here anyway" uh... mad I'm just trying to get some pictures. "Pictures? pictures of what?" Umm.. mad just some birds,sir. "Really? you ought ta come over to my place,there must be 20 pigeons sittin on my barn." Really, well as nice as it sounds,these were kinda rare birds for these parts. "Huh,what kind were they?" Well, madmad they were snow buntings. "Never heard of 'em,whadda they look like?"

Well, mad they got alot of white on them and hang around the side of the road. "Like a chicken?" No sir,smaller.

"Well,2 of those pigeons are white if you're interested"

"Pretty fancy camera ya got there" "whats somthin like that cost?"

mad

Ok,I thought,now I've got him.

Oh,about $25,000,I said.

"$25,000 to take a picture of a $%&*^$%$# bird?" "you're crazy"

Then he left.

True story.

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That’s funny ..... Thanks for sharing the humorous event.

Tried getting some bunting shots the other day myself. Like you say,ready to trip the shutter and poof they are gone.

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MM, I've seen the same thing. They are adapted to open, windy expanses, and it seems like they prefer them always. They nest on the Arctic tundra, so I guess it's no surprise they focus on windswept areas when they head south for the winter. Imagine a bird that comes to northern Minnesota in winter to get away from severe climate. That's one tough bird! gringrin

As for photographing them, it's tough to stalk snow buntings to within shooting distance unless you've got a 600 and a TC. They keep getting up and moving off 50 more yards every time you get just within range.

What they're doing along roadsides is taking in grit and foraging, and I've had luck (on little traveled gravel roads), getting close enough to bump them into flight and then just sitting there along the side of the road and letting them work their way back to me. It may take 15 minutes, but I've had them hopping, pecking and foraging back my way to inside the minimum focus distance of my 400 before.

Won't work on the highway, of course. Too many rubbernecking rubes. gringrin

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