A sparrow sized bird with pronounced difference between males and females (sexual dimorphism). The males are a spectacular blue all over, with small conical grayish beak. Females are hard to tell from other grayish nondescript birds. They may have a bluish tail.
Indigo Buntings eat a variety of seeds and fruit. They will hop about in grass seeking insects; glean from twigs and leaves of many tree species (alder for example); or consume fruits like blueberries. They nest fairly near the ground and choose from among many species including shrubs but also will nest in sturdy herbaceous native perennials like goldenrod or Joe-Pye weed. This bird has a high pitched chirpy song that is locally specific.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. The SBG area contains the Indigo Bunting’s preferred habitat of open, scrubby areas combined with trees. The Demonstration Garden’s herbaceous perennials may provide food and nesting sites. In Spring of 2013 an indigo bunting was spotted near the SBG welcome sign, on the grass near the trees that surround the Demonstration Garden.
When can I see it?
Spring, summer, fall. The Indigo Bunting is a long distance migrant, traveling to central America and northern South America for the winter months.