Beautiful Painted Buntings

Shop to attract Painted Buntings with white millet.

There are few birds in the U.S. that exhibit the incredible colors of the male Painted Bunting! He has a red chest, a green back and a blue head with a red eye-ring. And unlike some other birds, the male Painted keeps his colors year round. And the female Painted is pretty striking too, with a bright green back and a lighter yellow green belly.

Unfortunately, Painted Buntings are not found throughout the country. They are primarily seen in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, with a smaller contingent found along the Carolina coasts and into Georgia. How lucky to live in those parts of the country if you love these birds!

This colorful bird can be found in brushlands and woodlands in it’s western range and along the East coast they are frequently seen in backyards. They make an open cupped nest that’s usually built in low vegetation.

Painted Buntings feed on seeds and insects. If you have these birds in your area, you can attract them to your yard with live or roasted mealworms. In winter, one of their favorite foods is millet seed!

Sadly, these beautiful birds are on the Near Threatened list, due to the decline in their numbers since 1965. The males have been a target for bird trappers that sell to the caged-bird market, especially in Mexico.

If you are lucky enough to have these birds in your yard, there are many ways you can help their populations. Keep their habitat in your backyard free of pesticides and insecticides. Provide proper plantings that will encourage them to nest, such as low, native bushes and vines.

Let your flowers and wildflowers go to seed in your yard to provide winter foods. And put out several feeders with millet or seed blends that contain millet. Since male Painted Buntings are extremely territorial, put out several feeders placed well away from each other. Provide them with a water source—buntings love to bathe. And don’t forget to keep your cats indoors! Shop for bird feeders, white millet and more.

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  • Geri Pollard February 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Re: Painted buntings

    We are very fortunate to have these birds every summer. They arrive late April and leave late August. I was surprised to see your suggestion for attracting them in the winter, having never seen any after Aug. It’s a special day when they return! Every year we wonder if they will, and sure enough, they do. They are PB and Mrs PB to us, and our family knows them well by those names. We’ve had two couples at one time, but that’s rare. A special blessing to observe these birds, especially in our own backyard.