I saw my first of fall Painted Bunting at my feeder this afternoon! I had just cleaned the feeder and refilled it with fresh millet this morning. My bird stayed for a few minutes, dining on the millet inside my bunting cage. Just as I got to the window with my camera, he flew off. I kept an eye on the feeders for the rest of the afternoon, and I didn’t see any other “customers.” But it’s good to know that the Painted Buntings are on the move!
I’ve been very lucky to host these colorful birds for the past few winters. They really like my viburnum hedges, which provide cover and shelter. The male birds are bright red and blue and green. The females and juveniles are a pale green. Both love to fly criss-cross across my yard from one side of the hedge to the next.
If you want to attract Painted Buntings to your yard, put out a feeder with millet. I highly recommend the cage sold at Wild Birds Unlimited; it keeps the big birds out and lets the little birds enjoy the seed in peace. The birds have no trouble hopping through the bars of the feeder.
We’ve also had a small group of House Finches around the yard this past week. Our neighborhood population of House Finches dwindled considerably this summer. I went from seeing House Finches on my feeders all the time to maybe seeing one a week. I guess maybe these guys are migrants that have come back for the winter. It’s nice to see them again! We saw our first-of-fall Palm Warbler hopping around in the grass a few nights ago. Goldy was happy – she loves to watch them from her window!