The Snow Bunting is a high Arctic bird that breeds as far as the Northernmost regions of Greenland and Canada. It is common in Iceland where it lives the whole year round although in many countries it is a passerine. It used to be a very common breeding bird in the highlands but with rising temperatures the Icelandic stock has decreased. This summer has been fairly cold and seems to have been a good breeding year for Snow Buntings in Iceland.
The Snow Bunting builds its nest deep in cracks in rocks. The nest is lined with feathers and fur, made with care to keep the eggs and chicks warm in the cold rock.
In wintertime it goes round in huge flocks and comes into towns in search of food but putting out feed especially for Snow Buntings has been something of a tradition in Iceland. In the summer time the Snow Bunting goes under the name “Sólskríkja” which translates as sun screecher.
On one of the few cold days this winter, that was about two weeks ago, a lone Snow Bunting visited the garden. The first day it seemed a bit dazed and tired. We even thought it was seeking refuge here to die. But after a day or two it was up to par and stayed here alone for a week, enjoying the food we put out for it. Flocks of Snow Buntings have flown over but this is the only one in the garden this winter.
When thick layers of snow cover everything the Snow Buntings flock into gardens for food. Under these circumstances they are very tame and no need for long telephoto lenses to photograph them. This photo is taken with a 50mm lens about two meters from them.
Now it’s 3 days and everyone is so busy doing all the things people are supposed to do for Christmas. Remember to think about the things that matter. Being healthy is not guaranteed, money can’t buy happiness and be thankful for the troubles you don’t have.
Lend a helping hand – and if not your hand your ear <3
The Snow Buntings arrived in town today. They prefer the open fields in the highlands but when it gets colder and the snow covers everything, they come in huge flocks.
They change colours with the seasons. In the summer the males are white and black but in winter they are browner and darker. Beautiful birds but because there are so many of them people tend to take little notice of them.
In Iceland the Snow Bunting is called Snjótittlingur similar in meaning to Snow Bunting but in the summer it is called Sólskríkja which means the bird that sqeaks in the sun, Sun Bunting. The song of the male is very vocal and high and the Sun Bunting is the symbol of the highlands.