Indigo Bunting

At first, the mysterious blue bird was shy and kept his distance.
At first, the mysterious blue bird kept his distance.

Yesterday, Dennis Robinson, the Chickadee Dude (see our Chirbles the Chickadee pictures), spotted an indigo bunting, described by the Peterson guide as “casual” to Nova Scotia, in the Annapolis Valley.

The startlingly blue-feathered bird watched the chickadees from afar.  But finally, he decided that the chickadees had a good thing going and decided to check out some millet seeds (below).

This specimen is unusual in that his lower beak is light-coloured, rather than black as shown in the field guide.

Anyone else ever see an indigo bunting with a beak like this?

Indigo bunting eating millet seeds. Note the unusual lower beak.

4 Replies to “Indigo Bunting”

  1. Sunday April 26, 2009. Blomidon
    Indigo bunting at home feeder today with lower part of beak light colored.
    A beautiful little iradescent blue colored bird, which seems to be feeding and then resting. No female with him.
    1996 was the last time male and female were here, spent two days.

  2. Thanks for writing! It may well be the same bird! 13 years is a long time between sightings. Let us know if ever you see a female with this one.

  3. Lois Wilson wrote on May 6, 2009:

    Hi Heather, I’m a from your kitchen window bird watcher, although I do get very involved with my birds. I found the little ones came early this year and I’m always so excited when they do. I especially love to see the cardinals. We live on the coast in Yarmouth and yesterday my husband (he’s my backup!) and I were watching out the window when I saw a bird that I had never seen before. I thought for a minute that I was seeing the light shine in a different way, but I wasn’t and it was blue. It was alone, but fed with the other small birds. We watched till we could see no more and it hasn’t been back today. From what I can detect it was an indigo bunting. It was blue with the brown markings on the wings. It seems that this would be a female. It was about the size of a chickadee. As I looked on some of the sites, it appears that this bird is not often sited in Nova Scotia. I know the book that we were identifing it with had it’s habitat going as far as Maine. Have you ever seen one in your area? Thanks for taking the time….Lois

  4. Dennis Robinson wrote on May 7, 2009

    I haven’t seen my male indigo bunting in about 5 days and really miss him. He was very sweet and felt quite comfortable around the chickadees and juncos but was always aware of where I was. If I moved around normally inside the house, he’d be gone. But if I moved slowly, he’d let me photograph him. He’d always be around first light of dawn to get some millet seeds, which made me suspect that he didn’t have a nest. Robie Tufts mentioned that to see an occasional in the spring wasn’t all that unusual and that years ago they speculated that they would be blown up from Maine or New England by a strong wind storm. Mine, in fact, showed up directly after a strong wind storm. But Robie was skeptical. He thought that there just weren’t that many strong wind storms to account for the regular appearance of these little guys in spring. He suggested they in fact were disoriented to some extent and after a few weeks would come to their senses and go back to where they would have a much better chance of finding a mate. So maybe he’s back stateside.

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