Last year I was thrilled to play host to a small flock of Painted Buntings during the winter months. I’ve had my millet out for several weeks now, hoping to entice the birds back to my backyard this winter. On Saturday night we saw our first visitor, a bright red male who came to sample the mixed birdseed in the tube feeder right around dusk. I didn’t have the camera handy, so here is a picture from last year. Isn’t he such a pretty bird? Apparently our hedges are attractive to them. I wonder if they are some of the birds that used to feed at the Oakland Nature Preserve until they stopped putting out feeders there. It’s fun to think that this male may be one of my “greenies” (juveniles) that was starting to molt into adult colors when they left last spring.
If you see Painteds across Florida this winter, consider reporting them to the Painted Bunting Observer Team, a citizen science group that studies these birds. I need to print out my checklist and put it back up on the fridge… :)