The Painted Buntings are here!

Yesterday morning, the power went out, and I found myself out on the porch, bird watching again.  Earlier that morning, I had noticed a drab olive-green bird and thought it might be a painted female bunting.  After validating that in my trusty Sibley Bird Guide, I went to get my camera out of the truck and noticed this little guy sitting in the back yard, not a care in the world . . .

Next, I watched a pair of Inca doves while they grazed among the leaves on the ground, camouflaged perfectly to blend in . . .

The two of them then flew up to the bird bath, which didn’t have much water in it.  And yes, that is a small cypress tree in that pot in the middle.  One day, I will put it in the ground.  Notice how small these doves are! They are so cute . . .

If you look them up in a bird book, you learn that you can identify them by the underneath of their wings.  So, I said to them, “Hey, it sure would be nice if I could see the underneath of your wings.”  And off they went and struck a pose for me . . .

It was so hard to stop taking pictures of these crazy doves while they struck pose after pose for the camera, but when I looked over at the bird bath, I saw another amazing sight . . .

A Red Bellied Woodpecker and Mocking Bird were sharing the bird fountain.  First, Mocker took a drink . . .

and then Pecker took a turn.  They minded their manners so well!

Off in the yard, I noticed how pretty the Saw Palmettos are now and thought you might like to see them.  This is just a few of the many we have around our marshland . . .

The Scarlet Sage is in bright red bloom this time of year, and mine are so pretty.  One tiny Humming Bird thought so, too . . .

And just when I had about given up, something flew by ever-so-quickly and landed in the Blood Weed plants on the property line.  I leaned out over the porch (12 feet up), my zoom lens poised, and there he was . . .

The male Painted Bunting.  The first one we’ve seen this fall.  I hope they will hang around for a couple of weeks like they did last year before moving on to parts south.

Days like this could almost make me forget that Louisiana’s coast is vanishing at a rate of about 25 square miles per year, along with the way of life and culture.  Almost . . . . . well, for a little while at least.  I do love it here.

The Bird Whisperer,



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  1. The Northeastern part of the country may have colorful foliage…we’ve got the colorful birds that stop on their way to Central and South America. My Hummers are still around and eating like crazy. So…I know they’ll be heading your way soon.

    1. Priceless….beauty….all have a purpose, if only humans would not invade.
      Love the pictures! thank you for sharing! Ah… the power went out…but oh look what you found!

  2. Wow on the Inca doves! I didn’t realize their range was increasing. It seems your fall migration is as exciting as your spring migration.

  3. Before Katrina–when my cats were inside only–I had a bird feeder–with Painted Buntings, both male and female, coming to eat. Other avian guests were ground doves and some woodpeckers.

    The Buntings really have to be seen to be believed.

    Now I get other “visitors,” such as the raccoons and (in the spring) possums..

    I am very fortunate to have a neighbor who also likes the critters. We were sitting on my (sort-of) screened front porch one day and a raccoon stuck its head in through a tear in the screen (courtesy of a dog) and started nibbling on dry cat food I had out there. We sat quietly and continued chatting while the critter stocked up on good dry cat food.

    Another time we were outside and watched a raccoon grab a dog biscuit and dash over towards toward the woods, holding the biscuit in its front paws, and scampering along on hind legs only.

  4. Your birds and foliage are lovely! I think the woodpeckers Texas cousin is trying its best to fell my light pole though. The Inca doves remind me of parakeets. I think it is the markings on top of their wings. And the male bunting…Oh he is gorgeous. The rain storm a couple of nights ago, has brought out blooms on my lantana, cyprus fern and my fire bush (cousin of the scarlet sage). I noticed a couple of humming birds out there too. I am like you, I could watch them for hours!
    You said your electricity was out yesterday morning? Ours went out last night for over 2 hours. Almost all of the town and surrounding areas blacked out when a sub station had problems. I was just grateful it didn’t happen while the temps were so high.

  5. My dang infernal blankety pineapple sage refuses to bloom. Not enough sun I guess. The hummers been rare here anyway.

    Getting healthy for the trip down. Except for back.

  6. Pretty birdies! I’ve never seen those doves before. Are they migratory, too? And I’m pretty sure that one with his wing up is waving at you saying, (in the voice like Joe Pesci’s) “Hey, lady, what does it take to get some clean water around here?” *lol*

  7. When I was mercilessly weeding everything in sight at the rent house, I pulled some stuff up because it looked like a big weed. Fortunately, I didn’t get it all, because it turned out to be Turk’s Cap which the hummingbirds love. I’ve had fun watching them.

    Envious of your male painted bunting sighting, but thanks for risking life and limb to get that pic for us!

  8. It looks like the garden of Eden over there, BW. I just can’t believe all that lush, green growth.

    The ospreys are back here, and there have been hawks migrating overhead. The big hawk watch in Corpus Christi is this weekend. Did you know that, if the flocks are big enough, they can be picked up on radar? True story. The big change here, dove-wise, is the increasing population of white wings. I still like the cooing of the mourning doves, though.

    I’m just so happy to see the birds with a nice place to live. It’s still a struggle over here, and slim pickins for them.

  9. So I was just about stopped on a small bridge over a finger on the lake watching a hen turkey make it across, when I notice bunches of little birds in weeds. Blue buntings? red finches gold finches and misc others.

  10. lots and lots of hummers in right places still too.
    Saw about 2 dozen egrets in Peoria yesterday too,
    Bass Pro grand opening stuff. Still a Cabela’s guy though.