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Thursday, January 17, 2013

PAINTED BUNTINGS from every angle, eye candy

Painted Buntings are my favorite bird. That's why a Painted Bunting is cover image of our best-seller The Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America. They're just an "Oh Wow!" wonder.

They're one of the most sought-after species for birders coming to Florida in winter.

We're lucky in that we have attracted them to our yard there. There a number of places where they can reliably be seen in winter, most notably at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, FL.

Here's a female Painted Bunting.

Painted Buntings can be attracted to bird feeders filled with white millet, a seed they favor. Here's a photography tip. Set up some perches near a bird feeder in good light with a background at a distance. Use a long telephoto lens and stay back quite a bit so as not to spook the buntings, or set up a photo blind. Then wait for the bunting to land on your perch.

Painted Buntings winter in the southern half of Florida and Cuba, Mexico and Central America. During spring migration, Painted Buntings may be seen at coastal southeast migration hotspots. The breeding range includes coastal southeast states, Gulf Coast states and up into OK,  KS, AR and MO. Occasionally they wander out of this area and have even been seen in New england. Wherever you see them you're lucky.

Unfortunately the eastern population of Painted Buntings has been in decline for several decades most likely due to habitat loss. A group of scientists are studying this population. You can help if you live in NC, SC, GA or FL by reporting your Painted Bunting sightings to the Painted Bunting Observer Team website.


Hilke Breder said...

Eye candy indeed, Lillian. Lovely colors, gorgeous images!

Sam Brunson said...

Amazing photos! Painted Buntings are one of my favorite birds as well.

Unknown said...

Still haven't seen one. Is it wrong that my mouth begins to water when I see you images?

Lillian Stokes said...

No, Robert, It's not wrong, just keep a handkerchief with you.