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, September 21, 2018

Gray brown bird with light stripes on breast

Do Indigo Buntings travel in flocks? We have 4 on the feeder now and more in the lilacs.
 

From Wikimedia Commons
Flocks of Indigo Buntings fly through mid-Michigan from September to October as they migrate south for the winter. But they might be hard to identify because they are sporting their winter colors. Female Indigo Buntings are slightly smaller than a House sparrow and have an overall brown or grayish color, with faint streaking on a tan breast. They have short, conical beaks and their legs and feet are black or gray. Males molt their bright indigo blue feathers in late summer and grow irregular, patchy blue and brown feathers.

You are a big help if you create bird friendly “stopover site” in your yard with plenty of food, water and shelter. They like the Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess blend of sunflower chips, peanuts, and millet as well as the Nyjer Thistle in finch feeders. They also forage for wild seeds, nuts, berries, insects, mosquitoes, flies, aphids, small spiders, buds, goldenrod, thistle, grasses, and herbs.

Research reveals that Indigo Buntings migrate at night in flocks, using the stars for guidance. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky. Some buntings stop to winter in Florida and south Texas but most go to shrubby, weedy field areas in Mexico and mix in with other buntings like the Painted, Lazuli, Varied, and Orange-breasted Buntings.

Animated migration map of Indigo Bunting from https://ebird.org/

Related Articles:
- The Journey North: Bird Migration Maps http://bit.ly/pbk4Eb
- Great Horned Owl Singing at Night http://bit.ly/qKeKDM
- Are Horned Larks Common in Mid-Michigan? http://bit.ly/qmAbt7
- How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d
- What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/qa0CVU

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