March 7th – March Madness

The bait site on Duxbury Road – wide open to frigid winds and blowing snow. The buntingmobile is in the background -NRF

We don’t often catch Snow Buntings in March. We have averaged 181 per year since 2010 but that is based on 2 big years (2014 & 2015 when we caught 842 and 776 respectively); in five of the nine years we caught none, including the past three. But they’ve been showing up in droves since the start of this late cold snap. Yesterday Nancy Furber (on her own) banded 231!! and today we caught another 107 bringing our March total to 564 (and our season total to 910 – up until now it’s been a slow season). We’ll go out tomorrow morning to see if we can add to it before the warm temperatures return on the weekend.

Interestingly, over 80% of the birds we band are females; of today’s catch 84% were female.

But this can’t continue. The birds have got to start heading back for their distant Arctic breeding areas soon and after the weekend I doubt we’ll see them until next Winter. Still, it sure makes for an exciting March – and a great way to make the most of the cold weather.

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