Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wednesday Bird of the Week: July 25, 2018

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) singing from the top of a tree.
This weeks bird of the week is the Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea).

I am choosing the Indigo Bunting because they are a bird that no matter how my birding day is going, if I spot one of these beautiful blue males they can always make me smile. I usually end up watching them for a little bit longer than I probably should and have missed many chances of spotting less common summer species to watch the Indigo Bunting for just a few seconds more.

Indigo Buntings are a fairly common summer species here in Kansas and throughout the Midwest. During their breeding season the males will perch in the tops of trees and sing to attract mates.

If you get out early enough in the morning you might even be able to spot a few of them sitting along the edges of dirt/gravel roads. This was one of the things that I most looked forward to during my time with the MOFEP bird crew.

Other than the bright blue plumage of the male, Indigo Buntings can be identified by their unique song. Each piece of their song is sang in doubles and can be confused with the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), but unlike the American Goldfinch, the Indigo Buntings song will end on the same phrase every time. So when distinguishing between Buntings and Goldfinches remember, doubles and short, ending on the same phrase.

The nest of an Indigo Bunting is small and cup shaped and their eggs are a solid white. They are commonly found in low bushes or saplings.

Indigo Bunting nest with eggs and recently hatched young.
If you have an interesting story involving the Indigo Bunting, or a different technique for identifying them, please share.

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