the female Indigo Bunting sure doesn't live
up to the "indigo" in its title,
the male in breeding plumage leaves little
doubt about how this bird received its colorful
brown female is most often on her nest and
only upon close inspection in the sun will
the bluish glint of her back and wing feathers
help you distinguish her from a sparrow.
Buntings construct a loose cup of grasses,
leaves and animal fur held together with
spider silk. The nest is often low
in a shrub and hard to detect. Indigo
Buntings may have two broods a year, raising
2-6 young each time. They have a short
fledging stage, only 9-10 days.
Buntings are fairly widespread east of the Rocky Mountains
and in the southwest. They are not found in the Pacific
Northwest, or the northern Rocky states such as Montana
and Idaho. These colorful birds join others and winter
over in Mexico and Central America. In Minnesota they
usually return to their breeding areas in early to mid-May.
are the indigo's preferred diet and they'll glean them from
leaves and branches. Thankfully for backyard birders,
these colorful birds also are easily drawn to Nyjer tube
feeders (they can't cling to mesh feeders though). They
also eat millet, so a mix like Joe's Mix in a tube feeder
or a fly-through style feeder is a good secondary choice. They'll
consume small quantities of berries throughout the year.
to the Indigo Bunting
file generously donated by John Feith