Each winter, uncommon avian visitors from the north appear in open habitats such as fallow farm fields, coastal beaches, grasslands, and dunes. Among these winter visitors may be the Lapland Longspur, a small songbird in the family Emberizidae – a taxonomic category composed of certain finches, American sparrows, towhees, buntings, and New World sparrows. Lapland Longspurs breed in wet meadows and grassy hummocks of the Arctic tundra of Nearctic and Palearctic regions. Their winter range extends much wider – in North America it covers most of the lower 48 states but is very rare in the southern reaches of the border and Gulf states. They typically begin to appear in Connecticut by mid to late October, stay through much of the winter, then depart by the end of March.
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Photo by Anthony Zemba/Connecticut Audubon Society