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A tsunami of Snow Buntings

At first blush, this rural farmhouse may not appear to harbor what may be the most extraordinary bird feeding operation in Ohio. But indeed it does. If there is anything out there that rivals this in terms of sheer numbers, and the atypical "feeder" species involved, I am unaware of it.

I visited this Delaware County residence yesterday, after being tipped off to the amazing assemblage of birds by Dick Miller, whose sister and brother-in-law, Mike and Becky Jordan, reside in the home. Mike and Becky have been very gracious in extending their hospitality to visitors, including your narrator, which is much appreciated!

I'm not going to post their address on the Internet, but Mike and Becky do welcome birders who would like to witness the phenomenon that unfolds in the following photos. If you would like to visit, just send me an email at: jimmccormac35@gmail.com, and I'll pass along the pertinent information.


I arrived at 8:30 yesterday morning, and this was the very first of over 2,200 images that I made during my 3.5 hour stay. Nearly all of the birds swirling about in the image are Snow Buntings! The large trees are silver maples, and dozens of buntings adorn the summits of the trees as well. As soon as I turned onto the Jordan's road, nearly a half-mile from their home, I saw the birds. Thousands of buntings, larks, and longspurs forming a great undulating mass.

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It was a frosty 2 degrees F upon arrival, warming only to 16 F by my departure. Observing and photographing this spectacular flock of birds was well worth lying in the icy snow, and enduring the Arctic temperatures.

A blizzard of buntings nearly obscures the front of Mike and Becky's house. I found it impossible to get what I would feel confident was an accurate estimate of the number of birds visiting their yard. Even when the feeding areas were jammed with birds, scores and scores of others were out in the surrounding fields. Somewhere between 3,500 and 5,000 Snow Bunting, Horned Larks, and Lapland Longspurs would probably be a reasonable guesstimate.

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Snow Buntings
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