When Snow Buntings first arrive in eastern and southern Ontario, say, typically the third to fourth week of October, they are often found foraging along rocky shorelines. As an example, this is true of the rocky shorelines in the Shirleys Bay area, where sometimes over one hundred buntings can be seen in there from late October/early November. The Snow Buntings we see in fall are typically quite bright and buffy throughout, an appearance attributed to the broad, buffy fringes to each feather overlapping one another. The striking black and white appearance of late-winter Snow Buntings is acquired not through molt but through the gradual wearing of these buffy fringes. Happy bunting watching!
Photo: Split Rails – Snow Buntings, Robert Bateman.