On a hot summer day, the Indigo Bunting’s whistling song and vivid blue wings are like a breath of fresh air. The vibrant blue color of this omnivorous songbird has charmed many people’s hearts. This is a wonderful species to watch for and maybe feed in your garden if you’re a birder in the East or Southwest. To discover more about Indigo Buntings, keep reading.
12 FACTS ABOUT INDIGO BUNTINGS
1. YOU CAN SPOT THEM IN THE SOUTHWESTERN AND EASTERN UNITED STATES.
Indigo Buntings spend most of their time in North and Central America. In the eastern and southwestern United States, they spend spring and summer, then Central America and some Caribbean islands in fall and winter.
They have been discovered from Maine through Florida and west to Texas and North Dakota in the United States. In the Southwest and the Four Corners area, their range has lately expanded.
2. INDIGO BUNTINGS SOMETIMES BREED WITH LAZULI BUNTING
The Indigo Bunting co-exist alongside the Lazuli Bunting in regions of the western Great Plains. They may exchange songs and even interbreed to create hybrids, while they normally protect their lands from one another.
3. MALES AND FEMALES LOOK DIFFERENT.
Indigo Buntings can be identified easily by sex. They change colors throughout the year.
Year-round, females have a dusty chestnut brown color. Some may have wings with diffuse blue stripes as well.
Males are bright cobalt blue during the breeding season. While some may have darker blue wingtips, their heads are slightly darker than the rest of them. The blue canary is a term used to describe them.
The male has more brown feathers throughout the year. Brown is possible on his tail, wings, and neck. His head and back, on the other hand, still have blue feathers.
4. INDIGO BUNTINGS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.
These songbirds appreciate the grassy alleyways that roads, railroads, and power lines carve through densely wooded areas, even if they don’t like human suburban growth.
Grass seeds provided by Indigo Buntings grow in these open areas and flourish. They’re hunting for their next meal, balancing on the stems of wild grasses.
5. THE FEMALE RAISES THE FAMILY ON HER OWN.
After copulation, the male Indigo Bunting offers his mate little help in constructing the nest, raising the eggs, and feeding the growing chicks. He is, however, a fervent defender of his territory against invaders.
Yet, when their brood is approaching fledging the nest, the pair might mate again in certain conditions. The father of the fledging chicks might take up the feeding responsibility while the female moves to another section of her mate’s territory to build a second nest.
6. INDIGO BUNTINGS ARE OMNIVORES.
They change in response to what they find. Seed abundance is most common throughout the winter months, when autumn fruits ripen and are harvested. They take advantage of successional plants that seed or fruit and leave remnants for the winter since many live in close proximity to abandoned agricultural land.
Indigo Buntings feed on insects throughout the spring and summer. Insects are the first thing the mother offers her newly hatched chicks.
Since they are more bashful than other birds, attracting them to your bird feeder may be more challenging. Consider placing a feeder at the edge of your property if you have a vast yard with a low, brushy area with grasses and shrubs. In such a nice environment, Indigo buntings may appear.
7. THEY ARE SOCIAL DEPENDING ON THE SEASON.
Throughout the year, certain birds are social. Indigo Buntings are not the right species! They prefer to forage for insects all by themselves during the summer months. Another story is the change of seasons. Buntings flocks work together to discover and identify the most nutrition-dense food sources by collaboratively searching for seeds.
8. MALES ARE ONLY FULLY BLUE FOR PART OF THE YEAR.
Males are completely blue only during the breeding season, which runs from spring to summer. He molts to a blue-and-brown combination during the non-breeding season, which is gorgeous to look at.
However, in this molt, you’re unlikely to see him. Indigo Buntings are only seen in the United States during the breeding season and migrate south for the winter.
9. INDIGO BUNTINGS USE THE STARS TO NAVIGATE DURING MIGRATIONS.
These tiny birds can travel hundreds of kilometres thanks to the aid of an internal clock that enables them to know their position in space. Despite their small size, they are able to fly.
Since they fly at night, the birds migrate so they can view the stars. They concentrate on a specific star to chart their path. Between the star and the earth, they travel at a set angle. This guides them to their destination in a straight line, which they can easily reach.
10. THEY DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE BLUE FEATHERS.
The gorgeous blue feathers of the male Indigo Bunting are not, in fact, colored at all, which may surprise you. The reflection of light gives his feathers the same blue appearance as the sky. Only blue light is reflected by the structures inside a feather.
11. MALES LOVE TO SING.
Male buntings’ songs might persist for up to 20 years! Other males in the area teach male how to sing. The presence of double notes distinguishes it as an Indigo Bunting.
In the summer heat, keep an eye on males. They like to sit in plain view, so that other males, females, and predators may spot them. From time to time, they may even battle with one another. Birds mid-chirp, mid-air tussles! Neck tossing is one of the musical commotions involved.
12. INDIGO BUNTINGS ARE AT RISK OF BEING CAPTURED ILLEGALLY.
The Indigo Bunting is likewise threatened with capture in Central and South America, as are the colorful cousin the Painted Bunting. The birds are sold to pet shops by people who catch them. Because of their vibrant blue color, they’re highly valued.