Indigo Bunting

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Normally, I avoid photographing birds at feeders. I’m making an exception today, because today’s subject is exceptional.

This is a male Indigo Bunting.

Recently, I was with a friend at Paton House in Patagonia, about 70 miles southeast of our Tucson home. Paton House is operated by the Tucson Audubon Society. It is located close to a riparian area with some fairly dense woodlands. The Audubon Society has set up numerous feeders on the premises. The Paton House is renown for attracting songbirds of many species. Occasionally, something unusual shows up.

I was strolling around the grounds when I saw a flash of brilliant blue on one of the feeders. A person standing nearby said “Indigo Bunting.” I thought that it was a pretty bird and decided to make a few images even though I hated the perch.

The bunting was feeding at a leisurely pace and I had plenty of time to photograph him. After making a number of images I walked over to where my friend and a half-dozen others were photographing hummingbirds and I casually remarked that I’d just photographed an Indigo Bunting. That prompted a literal stampede as everyone grabbed his or her camera and raced to the spot where I’d seen the bird — which by now, sated, had flown.

It was only then that I learned that Indigo Buntings are very uncommon visitors to southern Arizona, with only a handful of sightings each year. They are a species that lives predominately in the eastern United States. Indigo Buntings are members of a family of mostly seed-eating birds that includes tanagers, cardinals, grosbeaks, and other bunting species. All buntings are beautiful birds but only the male Indigo Bunting is solid blue.

Tomorrow, I’ll post an image of another bunting species, one that is a bit more common in southern Arizona than the Indigo Bunting.

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 3200, f5.6 @ 1/1600, +2/3 stop exposure compensation.

2 Replies to “Indigo Bunting”

  1. cintwigg says:

    The color of that bird is arresting in its beauty. I am glad that you had the good fortune to capture those images.

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