MVFN Nature Notebook Recent Sighting and report:
My name is Lise Balthazar and I live in Lanark Highlands with my husband, Nat Capitanio. Every year, we have a large flock of Snow Buntings on our property; we feed them white millet. I had been in contact with the Snow Bunting Network, asking if they could send a bird bander to our property. Finally, on the week-end of February 11th, 2017, we had a veteran bird bander from the Waterloo area, Rick Ludkin and his wife, come to our property, along with a young apprentice from Montreal, Catherine Lavallée-Chouinard. We set up the traps, which are basically large cages on the ground with food in it; the birds make their way in to feed but can’t find their way out. As soon as several birds are trapped, time is of the essence. The birds are put into bags and brought to the banding station…which was our kitchen!!
Very quickly and expertly, Rick and Catherine pulled the birds out of the bags, measured them, determined the sex and age, checked the muscle mass and the fat and the weight. After all that, Rick would hand me each bird so that I could release it back into the wild. It was an exhilarating and emotional experience I will never forget.
We caught and banded a total of 89 Snow Buntings. We collected very important data which is sent to Canadian Wildlife Services. Snow Buntings are declining in numbers and the Snow Bunting Network is studying these beautiful little birds and their movements. They usually arrive in our area in December and leave at the beginning of March to go back to Groenland and Baffin Island to nest.
Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids
MVFN Nature Notebook Sighting: Hundreds of Snow Buntings
Sighting received Jan 11, 2017: Lise Balthazar is seeing hundreds of Snow Buntings on her property and sends some photos:
” The numbers have been gradually increasing and we now have about 200 birds visiting and feeding every day. I feed them white millet. I keep in touch with the Snow Bunting Network; they have volunteers who do banding of those birds to track their movements and to try to understand why their numbers are declining. For years now, I have been asking that group if someone could come and band some of our birds, but I haven’t had any success yet.”