Painted Bunting! Nature at Her Finest

I had a marvelous surprise this past week. While I was working away on my computer, my wife called to me: “Mark, did you see that bright red bird in the tree?” “Was it a cardinal?” I asked. “No,” she said, “it was smaller and even more brilliant red.”

I grabbed my binoculars and camera in the hope that I might see whatever Linda had spied out of the window. Sure enough, before long, I saw it, one of the most strikingly beautiful birds I have ever seen: a painted bunting.

I had seen one of these at Laity Lodge a couple of years ago. Then, I didn’t know what it was. After it flew away, I almost wondered if I had imagined it. I had never seen a bird so brightly and multi-colored. It reminded me of some of the fish I saw while snorkeling in Hawaii. A friend surmised that I had seen a painted bunting. I was eager to see it once again, but never did.

But, a few weeks ago, my hopes were finally fulfilled as a painted bunting visited our back yard, enjoying some seeds from our bird feeder. It was in Central Texas for the summer, where it breeds. It spends the winters in Central America.

Here are three pictures I took of the painted bunting:

A male painted bunting, front view.

The back of a male painted bunting.
Side view of a male painted bunting

For more information about painted buntings (and many other birds), check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

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  • Dick Powell

    We had a mating pair visit our feeder a couple of years ago. Unfortunately our cat thought it a fine meal. Killed both, have not seen one since. Spectacular in color (male) while the female is a dull green.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh. The word got out about your cat, I think.

  • Bethpinney

     The female looks a bit like she is say, “Seriously, why do you get all the good colors!”

  • Anonymous

    That’s something else, a sparrow, I think. The female painted bunting is pretty, rather lime green, just not as many colors.

  • Martha RobertsMarthawr

    Amazing!! I hope it is still around next week!!

  • Anonymous

    That would be fun!

  • Rob

    Beautiful. Here in central AZ, we see some great birds, too. I’m just a total novice when it comes to IDing them. Hope to learn more.   

  • Anonymous

    I bought about five bird books. Plus, I have a friend who is great at identifying them. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby.

  • Thepinkbox2009

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I have been seeing this bird since early spring.  For a while no one else had seen it and was thinking I had “lost” it.  Finaly 2 people saw it in my front yard so I am not crazy, but have wondered it’s name.  I was lucky enough to see a pair once.  I have never seen him on the feeder but on our small water fountain.  And have never been lucky enough to get a picture, although I keep a camera handy and see him every day.
    Thanks for his “name”
    Robin M.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you’re not crazy. It’s an amazing bird.