Image #264 – Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Image #264

The Indigo Buntings are regular visitors to my feeder these days. My neighbor reports seeing them in previous years but my experience on Fawn Hill is short, just over one year, and I’m certain I did not see them last year. These birds are memorable once you see them. But they are very shy and wary of humans. No doubt they were once coveted for those beautiful feathers. Hat fashion in the early 1900s was a catastrophe for so many beautifully plumed birds.

Cool facts about Indigo Buntings (courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology): Indigo Buntings fly about 1,200 miles each way between breeding grounds in eastern North America and wintering areas from southern Florida to northern South America and Cuba.

Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.


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