About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Photo Share: Gray bird with faint breast stripes and light throat

Hi, Sarah -- do you have any idea what this little cutie is?  Pretty sure "it's" an adult, because I believe "it" was guarding a nest. For a bit I thought perhaps house sparrow hen, but it's not quite right for that, with the black feet, muted stripes on breast, light throat outlined in gray........? ~ Lynn

She's an Indigo Bunting. Females are basically brown, with faint streaking on the breast, a whitish throat, and sometimes a touch of blue on the wings, tail, or rump.

Indigo Buntings nest in fields and on the edges of woods, roadsides, and railroad tracks. The female likes to conceal her nest in low vegetation, 3-5 feet off the ground. Raspberry bushes are a very popular nesting spot.

They can have a couple broods per year. The female builds the nest alone—a process that takes up to 8 days early in the season and as little as 2 days later in the summer. The male may watch but does not participate. The nest is an open cup woven of leaves, grasses, stems, and bark, and wrapped with spider webs. The inside of the cup is lined with slender grasses, tiny roots, strips of thin bark, thistle down, and sometimes deer hair. The cup is only about 1.5 inches deep and 3 inches across.

Read more at:

This guy started it all today, presumably also guarding a nest (which I never saw).  Song Sparrow:
Thank you for sharing your photos! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.   


Anonymous said...

Do they make a "chit-chit-chit" song? that is what some birds that look like that in our backyard have been doing-at first I thought it was a bug making that noise!

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Indigo Buntings give short, sharp, thin, one-syllable "spit" or "chip" calls.

Male Indigo Buntings whistle a bright, lively song of sharp, clear, high-pitched notes that lasts about 2 seconds. They are voluble, singing as many as 200 songs per hour at dawn and keeping up a pace of about one per minute for the rest of the day. Notes or phrases are often repeated in pairs: "what! what! where? where? see it! see it!" This pattern is recognizable, although the precise tune varies from place to place. Young Indigo Buntings learn their songs from males near where they settle to breed, and this leads to “song neighborhoods” in which all nearby males sing songs that are similar to each other and that are different from those sung more than a few hundred yards away.

Listen at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/indigo_bunting/sounds