Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Painted Bunting

Yesterday, while outside of Beaufort, SC, we caught sight of a Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) flying behind a tangle of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) along the bank of the Beaufort River. We suspected a nest might be hidden in the tangle, so we hopped down the steep bank and took a look. The images show the mass of moss supported by woody vegetation, the nest with two chicks hidden within the moss, and the male Painted Bunting near the nest. The bird was gone before we could switch to manual focus and avoid the automatic focus feature's preoccupation with the numerous branches and moss.

The Painted Bunting is a species of concern as numbers continue to decline and is listed as yellow on the National Audubon Society Watchlist. There are two main reasons for the population decline. First, habitat is being lost both on its breeding and wintering grounds. Preferred coastal habitat is rapidly being developed as is agricultural shrub land farther inland. Second, the beautifully-colored bird is captured on its wintering grounds and sold on the caged-bird market. Additionally, Painted Buntings are susceptible to cowbird parasitism.


sjones503 said...

This year has been great, today I go to see 3 new species of birds at my feeder. ONe was a painted Bunting and another was a pair of House finches I beleive they were the 3rd was a bit larger bird I found a pic of a Common Redpoll but thats not it ...

I live in Ladson, SC (near Summerville)

Jackie said...

I just spoted 3 male painted buntings and 1 female in the same tree. Location on a riverbank in Columbia, SC near the Williams-Brice football stadium. This was a real treat. I am going back this afternoon with my field glasses.