Painted Buntings have amazing colors–like a rainbow or a brightly colored crayon drawing of a bird. Believe it or not, Painted Buntings make their home right here in the U.S.! They can be found throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi during the summer, reaching into northeastern Mexico. Once it’s time to migrate, Painted Buntings fly through Mexico and Florida to spend the winter in Central America and the southern part of Florida.
A determined bird, the Painted Bunting has been known to fly through spiderwebs in order to catch an easy snack. Consider this nature’s way of offering “fast food!” While this bunting prefers to eat seeds most of the year, they switch to insects during breeding season in order to supply their nestlings with protein. Painted Buntings catch grasshoppers, weevils and other beetles, caterpillars, bugs, spiders, snails, wasps and flies. It may be of interest to note, as colorful as these birds are–their favorite seed is plain as can be. Fill your caged tube feeder with white millet, easily found in mixed seed blends, to attract Painted Buntings.
When looking for Painted Buntings in your yard, you can see them at almost any level, either on the ground or foraging in trees 30 feet above ground. Consider your landscape when attracting them because these birds prefer to visit feeders surrounded by low, dense vegetation. Remember, birds feel an extra sense of security when there are bushes or shrubs for them to scoot into when larger birds swoop in for a surprise visit. Birds are more likely to visit a feeder when they can see a hiding spot nearby, so adding low-growing bushes or shrubs can encourage Painted Buntings to visit your yard. With Painted Buntings, a little white millet and a caged tube feeder go a long way! As you can see.
Remember when there was a Painted Bunting spotted far from home, in Vermont? It was pretty memorable! Here’s a link to the rare bird alert. Enjoy your backyard bird fun and Happy Birding!
Sources and Interesting Links:
“Frequently Asked Questions: I live in the Painted Bunting’s range, but have never seen one. How do I attract them to my feeder?” Painted Bunting Observation Team, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2016. 7 Jun. 2016: <http://www.paintedbuntings.org/faq#q-i-live-in-the-painted-bunting039s-range-but-have-never-seen-one-how-do-i-attract-them-to-my-feeder>.
“Painted Bunting,” All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2015. 7 Jun. 2016: <https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Painted_Bunting/id>.