Friday, April 27, 2012

Painted Bunting Sighted in Louisville

A rare visitor was spotted Friday behind the Crestwood Veterinarian Hospital - a Painted Bunting!  The bird was seen for a short time at the feeder and in the bushes behind the hospital.  It didn't stay long and was gone before I had a chance to see or photograph it.  Lucky for us, Nicholas Fultz was able to digiscope a photo with an iphone.

Painted Buntings are more commonly seen in the southeastern United States and around Texas during spring and summer months.  They are brilliantly colored birds about the size of a goldfinch.  Below is a photo from the Flickr Creative Commons showing the bird in a little more detail. 

Painted Bunting
Photo by anyjazz65

I am still entertaining the thought that this was an escaped caged bird.  While it is illegal to possess any bird native to the United States, Painted Buntings are sometimes kept illegally because of their beautiful plumage.  According to Cornell, as many as 6,000 Painted Buntings are captured in Mexico and shipped to Europe every year.  This activity along with habitat loss are the reasons the species is listed as Near Threatened, meaning the population trends are going downward and that the species could be listed as endangered in the future if the population trend is not stabilized or reversed.  Whether wild or captive it is still one of our most beautiful birds.  Be sure to look out for them the next time you are in Florida or Texas.


Mia McPherson said...

Wow, that is way out of the range for Painted Buntings! They are gorgeous.

Jean said...

Ryan, About 13 years ago I had a pair of male Painted Buntings visit my feeders for 2 days. They are common along the coast of Georgia but I live in NW Georgia!
I always have wondered how they ended up in my area.
It pains me to learn that they are being caught and shipped to Europe.:(
Great post!

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