"Snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) breed in the northern Arctic and migrate by the thousands in winter to southern Canada and the northern United States. These birds are well adapted to winter conditions and are often seen huddled and shuffling on the ground to conserve heat.
Unfortunately, North American populations of this majestic passerine have declined by about 60% over the past 40 years. Is this decline related to climate change? Industrial farming practices? Declining insect populations? Collisions with human-made structures? Or a combination of these factors?
Scientists who want to better understand the causes of this decline have begun to study this species in Canada in greater depth. However, studying the movements of a highly nomadic migratory species over such great distances requires a lot of time... and hands! The Canadian Snow Bunting Network (CSBN) was created to establish a vast network of scientists and community members who follow and document the winter behaviours of snow buntings across the country, including a few study sites in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie.
Chelsey Paquette, Conservation Coordinator at the Granby Zoo, is an enthusiastic collaborator of the CSBN. Chelsey, with the help of other dedicated volunteers, captures and collects data on snow buntings in the Eastern Townships."