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 Snow Bunting

Status in Michigan
Common Transient

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Snow Bunting.

Use the links below to view the Snow Bunting reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Snow Bunting sightings.
Snow Bunting Archives Reports
Fall 2003 2724
Spring 2003 570
Winter 02-03 4195
Fall 2002 568
Summer 2002 0
Spring 2002 243
Winter 01-02 2176
Fall 2001 2516
Summer 2001 0
Spring 2001 357
Winter 00-01 2956
Fall 2000 438
Summer 2000 0
Spring 2000 242
Winter 00-99 1680
Fall 1999 653
Spring/Summer 1999 0

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Snow Bunting

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Snow Bunting
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Snow Bunting
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Plectrophenax nivalis nivalis (Linnaeus)
Eastern Snow Bunting (A.O.U. 1998: Snow Bunting)

Winter visitant, common except in the southern 3 tiers of counties.

First recorded for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

FALL.-The Snow Bunting generally appears in the north about the middle of October and in the southernmost counties of the Lower Peninsula in late October or later.

Upper Peninsula.-W. H. Grant collected 2 specimens (U.M.M.Z.) at Houghton, on October 23, 1904; R. Bohland 1 (U.M.M.Z.) at Lake Gogebic, Gogebic County, on October 20,1940, and S. S. Gregory, Jr., 2 in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, on October 19, 1920. In 1937 Christofferson saw 10 Buntings at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, as early as September 28. Bryens has regularly noted a few at McMillan, Luce County, in the first part of October (October 2, 1928; October 12, 2023), and considerable numbers during the early part of November (500 on November 2, 1940, and 700 on November 5, 2023).

Lower Peninsula.-Walter E. Hastings reported "large flocks" of Snow Buntings at Norwood, Charlevoix County, on November 21, 2023 (Van Tyne, 1925: 622). Trautman recorded considerable numbers at Houghton Lake, Roscommon County: 25 on October 1, 1938; 400 on October 18, 1936; and 200 on November 1, 1936. Large numbers were also noted by J. Claire Wood (1913: 17-18) at Lincoln, Alcona County, in 1912: 100 on October 26; 150 on October 31; and 200 on November 5. One of the earliest fall records for Michigan is September 25, when Chaney (1910: 275) noted an individual, in Mason County. Barrows (1912: 485) reported a specimen taken by Selous at Greenville, Montcalm County, October 9, 1897, and an- other by N. A. Wood at Caseville, Huron County, October 12, 1910. Trautman collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) near Ann Arbor on October 13, 1934. According to Swales (1903: 38), the species regularly arrived in Detroit during the latter part of October, and L. W. Campbell (1940: 210) has consistently noted flocks in the Toledo-Erie marsh area by the first week of November.

WINTER.-The Snow Bunting occurs irregularly in winter in groups of 10 to 50 individuals and in flocks of 100 to 300 birds.

Upper Peninsula.-Laurence Dayton listed the Snow Bunting as common on Isle Royale during the last 2 weeks of December, 1936. Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) from the western part of the peninsula include 1 collected by L. C. Anderson at Ironwood, Gogebic County, on December 15, 1932, and several by F. F. Tubbs in Ontonagon County on February 1, 1935. Christofferson observed a flock of 150 at Marquette, on January 23, 1937, and 100 on January 10, 1941, at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, where he has frequently noted considerable numbers.

Lower Peninsula.-John L. George and Maurice G. Brooks saw 10 Snow Buntings near Johannesburg, Otsego County, on January 25, 1941, and a flock of 100 on the previous day in Iosco County. Southward this bunting has been recorded from: central Missaukee County (November 27, 1937, flocks of more than 200, Trautman); Sand Point, Huron County (February 18, 1934, more than 200, A. D. Tinker and R. E. Olsen); around Vicks- burg, Kalamazoo County (rare winter visitant-F. "W. Rapp, 1931: 22); Calhoun County (December 26, 1926, 14 Buntings-Walkinshaw, 1927: 34- 35; December 26,1937, 40 Buntings-N. T. Peterson and others, 1938: 55); Jackson County (December 25, 1929, 315 Buntings-Leonard, Harold F., and Maurice 0. "Wing, 1930: 45) ; Ann Arbor area (early February, 1936, 60 Buntings seen by A. E. Staebler, 300 by Trautman); Detroit area (rare or absent some years; abundant others, especially the winters of 1902-3 and of 1910-11, when 100 were seen on January 1-Swales, 1903: 38; and notes).

SPRING.-The Snow Bunting leaves the southern counties during the latter part of March or early April; a few remain in the extreme north until May.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 210) reported the species leaving the Toledo-Erie marsh area in mid-February. It leaves the Detroit area about the middle of March (Swales, 1903: 38); has been seen south of Milan, in Monroe County, until March 22 (1940, 8 to 10 counted by R. L. Patterson); near Ann Arbor until March 21 (1879, specimen in U.M.M.Z., J. B. Steere); at Fish Point, Tuscola County, through early May (1926, specimen in U.M.M.Z., May 6; individual seen May 11, N. A. Wood); at Sand Point, Huron County, until April 22 (1932, 34 on April 13, 75 on April 15, and 1 on April 22, D. W. Douglass); and on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, until May 4 (1929, N. A. Wood).

Upper Peninsula.-Exceptionally large numbers of Snow Buntings have been reported from the eastern end of this peninsula: from St. Ignace, Mackinac County (March 4, 1936, 3000, Christofferson); Sault Ste Marie (March 26, 1921, 10,000 estimated, Magee) ; Pickford, Chippewa County (April 18, 1923, 5000, Christofferson) ; Whitefish Point, Chippewa County (1936, 2 specimens, U.M.M.Z., May 16 and May 21, Brodkorb); McMillan, Luce County (occasional in early May, seen on May 3 in 1934, May 9 in 1931, Bryens). The species has also been reported from Marquette (specimen, U.M.M.Z., on March 18, 1894, and 1, also U.M.M.Z., on April 14, 1895, 0. B. "Warren); near Ironwood, Gogebic County (mid-April, 1933, specimens, U.M.M.Z.-L. C. Anderson); and Isle Royale (mid-April to mid- May, 1937, occasional, Laurence Dayton).

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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