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Painted Bunting Spotted on St. Simons Island

by Guerry Norwood

Painted Buntings are currently arriving here on St Simons Island. We spotted one in our Sea Palms West neighborhood using the iBird Yard Plus HD app for the iPad to attract them. We were able to get a photo of this beautiful bird. Painted Buntings have also been spotted on Little St Simons Island at feeders across the Island.

The Painted Bunting is found in thickets, woodland edges and brushy areas, along roadsides, in suburban areas, and gardens. The male was once a very popular caged bird, but capturing and holding a Painted Bunting is now illegal. Populations are declining on the East Coast where habitat is being lost to development and the species is at risk of being listed as threatened or endangered. Their breeding range includes Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Carolina, Louisiana and northern Mexico. The male Painted Bunting is often described as the most beautiful bird in North America. Its colors–dark blue head, green back, red rump and under parts–make it easy to identify, but it can still be difficult to spot since it hides in foliage even when singing. The plumage of female and juvenile Painted Buntings is green and yellow-green, serving as camouflage. Once seen, the adult female is still distinctive, since it is one of the only truly green birds native to the United States.

Be on the lookout for this brilliantly colored songbird currently making its migration north.

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