Snow Bunting by Medland, circa 1908
Snow Bunting by Lilian Marguerite Medland, for Charles Stonham's The Birds of the British Islands, circa 1908.
The snow bunting is a northern passerine bird in the family Calcariidae. Its binomial name is Plectrophenax nivalis and there are four subspecies of snow bunting which can be identified by slight differences in male breeding plumage and location. The snow bunting has an arctic breeding range and in the winter it migrates to a more temperate climate. Mostly white, the breeding male has a solid black back, while the breeding female has a gray-black back. Winter plumage is mottled with ginger and the female does not have as much white coloring as the male. Snow buntings have a feathered tarsi, which is unusual for passerine birds, due to the arctic environment. On average they are fifteen to eighteen centimeters in size with a wingspan of thirty-two to thirty-eight centimeters. They can weigh anywhere from twenty-six to fifty grams.
Lilian Marguerite Medland (1880-1955) was an English nurse and artist. While training at Guy's Hospital she met Charles Stonham who was a surgeon there. From 1906 to 1911, she produced the plates for his The Birds of the British Islands. Once completed the published five volume work contained three hundred eighteen monochrome illustrations by Medland. She married Tom Iredale in 1923 and the couple moved to Sydney, Australia. Medland continued to paint, and in 1925 the thirty bird paintings she had done for the Australian Museum where distributed as postcards. She also illustrated several books on birds, such as her husband's Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds (1950). In 1972, the two hundred forty-eighty paintings she had done for a revised edition of William Yarrell's A History of British Birds,in 1911, were discovered.
- Naomi Bean