The Indigo Bunting: Cole’s Bird of the Month for July
The Indigo Bunting isn’t just another pretty face in the world of birds, it’s also as upbeat and cheery as it is beautiful. The bright blue male of the species sings with gusto from sunup to sundown during the spring and summer. He loves to perch high in the trees or on telephone poles to sing out his song for the world to hear.
Indigos are small, stocky birds with thick bills. The adult males are a brilliant indigo blue all over, while the females are mostly brown with a whitish throat. They will sometimes have just a touch of blue on the wings, tail, or rump. The young males are brownish blue. Indigos are often mistaken for another striking songbird, the Blue Grosbeak; however the grosbeak is much larger and has rust colored patches on its wings. Indigos are about the size of a sparrow. Also, the Blue Grosbeak has a significantly thicker bill.
If you want to attract these brightly colored, attention getters to your backyard then fill your feeders with Niger seed or White Proso Millet. Along with seeds and berries, they love to eat insects. So, you may want to avoid pesticides to keep this food source in ample supply. If you live near a weedy or brushy area, that’s another enticement. Indigos love to forage in seed-laden shrubs and grasses.
This is the perfect time of year to watch for Indigo Buntings. They breed in late spring and summer as far west as the California border, as far north as the southern central part of Canada, and all across the Midwest and eastern United States. This time of year Indigos are found in pairs, but during the winter they travel in flocks when they migrate to Central America.
Another fun fact about Indigos is that they are known to sing as many as two hundred songs per hour at dawn and then sing about one per minute for the rest of the day. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, young Indigo Buntings learn their songs from older males near the younger male’s breeding ground. This leads to “song neighborhoods” in which all nearby males sing songs that are similar to each other and that are different from those sung more than a few hundred yards away.
If you’d like to hear the songs of the Indigo Bunting, click the link below to watch the video and hear him singing.
We’d love to see your photos of Indigo Buntings and hear about your experiences attracting them. Please join the conversation on the Cole’s Facebook page by clicking the link below.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.coleswildbird.com