BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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[LONGSUPURS, SNOW BUNTING: FAMILY CALCARIIDÆ]

[This family wasn't totally established like it is seen today in the time Hoffmann wrote this book. These species were originally in the Finches chapter.]


LAPLAND LONGSPUR. Calcarius lapponicus
6.25 in.

Ad. ♂ in autumn.— Top of head and back brown, streaked with black; sides of head and line behind eye buffy; reddish-chestnut collar on hind neck obscured by gray; wings chestnut, with two white bars; tail nearly black, outer pair of feathers tipped with white; black feathers of the breast and sides veiled with gray; belly white. Ad. ♀ in autumn.— Similar, but with less black on the upper parts, and on the breast; no buffy line back of eye; often no reddish-brown on the hind neck.

The Lapland Longspur is a very rare winter visitant along the sea-coast in the neighborhood of New York city, and a rare migrant along most of the New England coast. At Ipswich, Mass., on the grassy hills near the ocean, especially at Great Neck, it is often a common fall migrant. It arrives late in October and often stays into January. It feeds either in company with Horned Larks and Snow Buntings, or in small flocks alone. None of these birds hop; all walk or run.

Its notes are a harsh and rattling chirr, less musical than the roll of the Snow Bunting, and a sweet tyee, which corresponds to the tee of the Bunting. If one is thoroughly familiar with the Lark and the Bunting, it is easy to distinguish the Longspur from them. The absence of a yellow throat-patch outlined with black separates it from the Lark, and its general dark tone distinguishes it from the Bunting. In fact, the reddish brown wings and blackish breast suggest an immature male English Sparrow.


SNOWFLAKE; SNOW BUNTING. Passerina [Plectrophenax] nivalis
5.88 in

Ad. in autumn and winter.— Head and under parts white, washed on the head and sides of breast with brown; the black feathers of the back veiled with gray and brown; wings and tail black and white; bill reddish-brown. Im.— Brown on the crown, and sides of throat deeper; black of wings and tail not so clear, and white less pure. Ad. in March.— The brown begins to wear off, the plumage tending to become black and white.

The Snow Bunting is a common winter resident on the coast of New York and New England, and along the shore of Lake Champlain, arriving late in October and leaving toward the end of March. Occasionally large flocks appear in the interior, especially in northern New England, feeding on the seeds of weeds in neglected fields and waste ground. It occurs also as a migrant in large river valleys, feeding on the muddy flats of lakes or ponds. On the sea-coast, flocks of Snow Buntings associate with Horned Larks, but the former frequent the beach more than their companions, and the grassy hills less.


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