The gift of bird watching: Indigo bunting

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The feathers of the male indigo bunting are a bright, iridescent blue. Photo courtesy Ray Harden


We have been posting a “Gift of Bird Watching” column every week recently because the birds now arriving are creating an identification bottleneck!

This week’s species is the indigo bunting, which is very common along the Raccoon River Valley Trail and in all Dallas County parks.

Indigo buntings are often overlooked because the iridescent, bright blue feathers are seen only when the bird is in good light.

The males like to perch on a high, leafless branch or on power lines.

The best way to locate indigos are by their call, which is a cadence of two notes that are repeated, similar to the tone of the American goldfinch.

Their call sounds like, “Sweet sweet, cherry cherry, berry berry, sweet sweet.”

The female is a drab brown, which is great for concealment since indigo buntings nest only about a meter above ground.

Learn more how your next cup of coffee impacts the indigo bunting.

Mike Havlik is a naturalist in the Dallas County Conservation Department.

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