[tn-bird] Re: Indigo bunting question

In a message dated 5/13/02 5:33:53 PM Pacific Daylight Time, SSheliga@xxxxxxx 
writes:


> 
> 
> A pair of indigo buntings has been visiting the backyard feeders.  Today, I 
> noticed two lighter-colored blue birds, darkish wings, same size and beak 
> as 
> the adults, feeding with the adults.  I had assumed these were fledglings, 
> until I looked up indigo buntings in some bird ID books.
> According to these books, immature buntings look like the female.  The 
> coloration I saw looked like 'first spring', again according to the ID 
> books. 
> 
> So what are these lighter-colored birds doing here?  Why would they be 
> feeding with the adults? Did the adults call up the teenagers from school 
> to 
> help out with a new brood?   
> 
> Thanks for any info
> 
> 

Sharon
Your "lighter-colored blue birds" are almost certainly second year male 
Indigo Buntings.  These male birds that hatched in the summer of 2001 are 
often a mixture of worn brownish and blue feathers that make them appear much 
lighter.  I took two such birds from the nets yesterday as part of a MAPS 
banding project.

Our understanding of the molt patterns in buntings leave something to be 
desired, but we are learning.

Enjoy the day.  God Bless.
Bob Sargent
Trussville, Alabama


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