Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Monthly Bird #1: Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting, adult male.
"What a beautiful bird!"

You could say that about a couple hundred bird species - easily - but the Lazuli Bunting's mixture of shiny lazuli blue, bluebird brown, black and white makes this bird beyond compare.

What gives it its bright colors? I won't go into all the details, but I think it goes something like this: These things called pigments are in the feathers, and when the sun's light hits the feathers, we see the bright blue on the head and back. But colors can be tricky: Like other buntings, when not seen in good light, parts of the bird may appear dark blue or even black. I'm pretty sure that you can see the brown/orange in poor light, though.

Like most songbirds, they eat seeds, fruits and bugs. Again, like most songbirds, they come to feeders. And they're really versatile when it comes to finding food. They'll eat in the trees or in bushes, they hop on the ground like robins and they'll even flycatch for the insect portion of their diet!

Lazuli Bunting range.
And its song is incredible! I think it just sounds like a bunch of chirping - literally - but it's because of its, well, "generic" call, that it sounds so good.

Also, they nest in shrubs close to the ground, so be sure to not step on one of their many silk-wrapped dry grass, bark and leaf nests.

There's really nothing more to be said except their range. They live out in the western half of the US, so you're not likely to see one in Maine.


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