An indigo bunting at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove in Audubon, Pennsylvania
© Vicki Jauron/Getty Image
Singing the blues. Indigo bunting
This time of year, from late spring to summer, male adult indigo buntings take it up a notch and turn a brilliant deep blue. They fly to a high perch – like our cheerful fellow atop a sunflower – and sing from morning to night to try to catch the attention of females. Indigo buntings are members of the ‘blue’ clade (subgroup) of the cardinal family.
During breeding season you'll find the small, seed-loving songbirds in brushy habitats in pastures, along roadways, and at the edges of forests throughout eastern and central North America, from southern Canada down to Florida. But you'll have to keep a sharp eye out for the plain brown females, who are usually tending to their young deep in the thicket.