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