Friday, June 10, 2011

Nature Notes: Something Blue

I think I'm in love. Today was the first time ever that I've seen an indigo bunting, which has to be the bluest bird ever.

He didn't stay long, and I had no time to switch out the short lens for the telephoto, so this is a tiny, fuzzy crop from the full photo. Still, isn't he something?

I immediately went to the Web for information. It's a finch, feeds on insects and seeds, and is apparently fairly common over a wide range. They must have been hiding from me all this time.

And check out these tidbits from

* A group of buntings are collectively known as a "decoration", "mural", and "sacrifice" of buntings.

* Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear many shades from turquoise to black.

* They are more common now than when the pilgrims first landed. This is due to an increase in their favorite habitat of woodland edges, such as power line clearings and along roads.


* They migrate at night, using the pattern of stars nearest the North Star to guide them. In captivity, these birds will become disoriented if they can’t see the stars in April/May and September/October.

A brilliantly blue bird that isn't really blue, guided by the night sky and the North Star. Does it get any more magical than this?

Click here to visit Michelle's site and see more Nature Notes.