Thursday, February 5, 2015
That little red and black bird showed up again yesterday and this time I managed to get quite a few pictures...with the zoom. It was perched on the far side of the shrub where I had seen it the first time.
From my previous verbal description, my resident bird expert had offered up the orchard oriole as a contender since it was highly unlikely to be a red-breasted blackbird this far north of it's territory though I was pretty sure it wan't an oriole.
Left: red-breasted blackbird Right: orchard oriole
As you can see, the two birds are very similar...about the same size, red breast (though the oriole is more rust than red), black head. I didn't see any white on the wings like the oriole but then I only saw it briefly from the front.
Here is my visitor...
My local bird expert has identified it as a male painted bunting even though with the exception of it's brilliant red breast, it's colors are quite dulled, the head appearing black instead of blue though, this day, it was not looking quite so black as before and you can see a hint of the yellow/green patch on it's upper wing now. It's also smaller than I had guessed at first. One FB friend where I posted the pictures guessed that perhaps it had been caged and escaped or turned loose as their plumage typically fades in captivity from lack of the right kinds of insects and UV light.
The male painted bunting in his full color:
I saw the little bunting again today briefly on the tea cup from a different window and when I called to Marc about it, he must have heard me because he flitted away.