Cross-country Snow Bunting Checkup – Jan 27-Feb 1, 2016

Temiskaming, ON – Joanne Goddard

We are having an interesting banding season here at Kerns’ (Temiskaming). The weather conditions seem to be perfect, mild temperatures (-1 to -15) lots of snow, but surprisingly few SNBU. The flock at school has only been as large as 200 birds all winter and they are proving to be difficult to catch. In fact driving around Temiskaming it is difficult to find any snow bunting flocks at all!! Since I have a grade 5/6 class this year I have only been able to band a few hours a week, and we have managed to band 230 birds so far (only 8 females). We have however had about 8 retraps from our past 4 years of banding. This has been super significant for my students because they have been able look back in our journals to see who the original banders were- many of which were the older siblings of my current students. Also of interest was a Shrike that we caught, banded, and relocated way back in 2013 found its way back to our site this year. Luckily we were able to catch it without any issues. On a side note, our Kerns’ location has also been chosen as a banding site by the Canadian Wildlife Service to take part in a winter finch colour banding survey. I have attached a few pictures of this as well. We were able to show some of our primary students some of our banding as well which was super exciting for them. Thank you to Bruce Murphy who has been helping us band this winter!






Lanark, ON – Lise Balthazar

My name is Lise Balthazar and I live in Lanark Highlands. I have been in contact with your network for a few years. I get Snow Buntings every year and I feed them white millet.

This year, I have about 120 to 125 birds. I am sending pictures which were taken by my husband, Nat Capitanio.

Lise Balthazar
Sheridan Rapids
Lanark, Ontario

P.S. I also have been looking for bird bander in my area for several years. I have the perfect site for it!






McGill Bird Observatory – Simon Duval

The number of birds seem to be increasing, but the snow cover is melting, with the forecasted rain and high temperatures over the next couple of days, who knows where the season is going!


From Jan 20 to 29, 60 SNBU were banded in seven mornings. The flock is still fairly small and not coming to the traps often.

Mirabel Season total: 193 SNBU, 1 LALO, 1 HOLA

The banders at Mirabel, Richard Beauchamp and Liette Fortier.

The banders at Mirabel, Richard Beauchamp and Liette Fortier.


From Jan 20 to 29, seven mornings of banding produced 172 SNBU and 1 HLALO. The flock grew to between 50 and 100 daily. The peak was on the 25th and 26th, when we banded 46 and 44 SNBU respectively. Interesting recaptures during the period included:
-1 SNBU banded in winter 2014-15 at St-Roch
-1 SNBU banded in winter 2013-14 at Mirabel

St-Roch Season total: 278 SNBU, 5 LALO, 5 HOLA.


Since the beginning of the winter, Coteau has been our most productive site, and the period covered by this report wasn’t any different. From Jan 21 to 29, eight mornings produced 208 SNBU and 11 LALO. The flock is on average around 60 birds, sometimes reaching highs over 100.

Coteau-du-lac Season total: 367 SNBU, 13 LALO, 39 HOLA.

Southern Quebec Teams’ total is 838 SNBU banded, we’re picking up the pace a bit, we’re only about 1000 birds behind last year’s total now.

Simon Duval
The Migration Research Foundation

Rimouski, QC – Marie-Pier Laplante

Things are slowly picking up here. I have been out banding in Bic, 30km West of Rimouski, a couple of times in the last week, and banded 40 birds. A prof from school baits the field behind his house daily. It does not come as a big surprise that he and his family are falling for Snow Buntings now! His daughter got to band her first bunting this week, it was a nice moment.

I think this site will work great for the rest of the winter!




Berthier-sur-mer, QC – Benoit

Here news from Berthier-sur-mer just 50km east of Quebec city.

I just start baiting last week-end. A few days later, more than 150 SNBU where feeding at my site. Wednesday, I have banded 13 bird for a school activity. I will put more time in snow bunting banding in the next week.

Total for the year: 13 (only male)

à bientôt,


King City, ON – Glenn & Theresa

Sorry but nothing happening here in King City – no snow buntings since the last post, and no snow either.

Hope someone, somewhere, is doing well with them this year!!

Glenn & Theresa

Hartland, WI – Vicki Piakowski

Our new banding area in Belgium, WI has had hundreds of Snow buntings the past week, devouring the bait within hours and keeping the baiters busy! Unfortunately, we are losing some of the snow cover that we had and today they were not staying in the area of the bait. We’ll try our first trapping and banding on Saturday. Snow is forecast for next week so that may help.

Vicki Piaskowski
Hartland, WI

2 thoughts on “Cross-country Snow Bunting Checkup – Jan 27-Feb 1, 2016

  1. You’ve gotta love that photo of the fur-hatted girl from Kern releasing the redpoll…it appears to the the very moment of inoculation!

  2. I’ve noticed some banded Snow Buntings in the flock on Falls View Road in Flamborough. All I can make out are metal/silver bands. Is there anything I should be looking for?

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