A note on bird song: Samuel Hearne’s observations on the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

David L. G. Noakes, Jeffrey D. Noakes


In 1795, the Arctic explorer Samuel Hearne recorded detailed observations on the distribution, ecology, molt, and behaviour of the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis). The most significant of his observations was that Snow Buntings imitated the vocalizations of Atlantic Canaries (Serinus canarius) when housed with that species. His account has apparently not been widely recognized by ornithologists, but it is one of the first such observations on bird’s acquisition of vocalizations.


Arctic; bird song; Atlantic Canary; Snow Bunting; Samuel Hearne; Serinus canarius; Plectrophenax nivalis

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v128i3.1606

Volumes that are more than six years old are freely available courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.


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