e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,
e_moon60
e_moon60

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Painted Buntings

Painted Buntings are a species of concern, as the population and range has dwindled over the past fifty years.  Habitat loss and nest predation by brown-headed cowbirds are both implicated. 

When we bought the 80 acres,  we had one nesting pair on the place (the male's territorial calls make it easy to determine how many pairs you've got and roughly where they are....just listen at the start of nesting season, and you can hear this one here, that one there, etc.)   We began cowbird trapping, to reduce nest predation, and before the second year of the recent drought, we had three nesting pairs producing 3-4 offspring a year (I would photograph them at water with their fledged offspring--families stay together until they migrate.)  Last year, I couldn't confirm reproduction for all three, and the family I did photograph had only two fledglings...not an uncommon result in severe drought when food supplies dry up.   We provided supplemental water, and some food, but Painted Buntings have definite seed preferences...and are vulnerable to predation when feeding on the ground (as they usually do.)  

However, one family showed up in the back yard late last summer (I guessed that it wasn't a local nester, since I hadn't heard or seen them in spring)  and used out backyard water feature.   And this week, a pair showed up there again.  I haven't photographed them yet, but have seen them twice, both male and female.  

           

The male looks like a tropical bird--gaudy as a parrot; the female, though seeming dull in comparison, has a faint iridescent blue-green sheen over her duller green that probably shows up brilliantly in the ultraviolet.  These pictures were taken other years, in other locations on the place.

Tags: birds, widlife
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