Exploring Nature: Painted Bunting

Painted Buntings have unique coloring with a blue head, red body and vivid green on the wings. PHOTO COURTESY OF JERRY HALL

A new cast of birds will be arriving in our area over the next several weeks. These winter species will join such faithful birds as blackcrested titmice and Carolina chickadees which stay here year round.

Be on the lookout for robins, goldfinches and – if you are very lucky – painted buntings. The French name for this brightly-colored bird is “nonpareil,” which means “without equal” and it is truly one outstanding bird. With a blue head, red body and vivid green on the wings, it might well have flown out of a Matisse painting.

Speaking of winter, how do birds stay warm when the temperatures plunge? Well, they fluff up their feathers to form little air pockets that trap their body heat. And to keep their body temperature up, they eat lots of fat-rich food.

Blocks of suet, a high-fat treat for birds, are especially welcome. I buy mine at a local hardware store and find the peanut flavor attracts lots of birds. If you especially want to attract goldfinches, nyjer seeds will do fine. For almost every other bird variety, you can’t beat blackoil sunflower seeds, which have twice as many calories as striped sunflower seeds.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666