The picture above was taken right before I started my chase – yes an actual chase. I could hear it somewhere along the edge of the field – the sweet and beautiful song of the Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). Although I’ve seen them before, my sightings were always at an unfortunate distance but I knew this one was close – I was pumped! With my binoculars, camera, and recorder in hand (basically my spring/summer uniform), I sprinted down to the forest edge.
Okay lets be real… I casually trotted down to the forest edge.
And there it was! I spotted the cute little bugger and as I untangled my gear from around my neck, it spotted me. Now I’m sure you can guess what happened – Yup! It flew right back up the hill to the area I just left. So what did I do? Well I trotted back up the field and what did my Indigo Bunting do? Of course it flew back down. Yes I should know better and yes this was ridiculousness and I knew it. I decided to calm down, take a breath and just watch. I realized that this bird was flying back and forth from the same singing perches – I concluded that it wasn’t just passing by – this was its territory. Comforted by observation, I was able to set aside my illogical eagerness to capture this sweet Indigo – I slowly made my way back down to the tall Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) it was using as its main stage. I set up my recorder with camera in hand and patiently waited.
Finally the male came along and to my surprise, a female popped up as well. They chattered back and forth to each other bobbing in and out of shrubs. Eventually she flew off into the dense brush and he began to sing. I was able to get a few images but this was the only one that came out halfway decent of the male.
Here is my recording of this sweet singer ( this sample can also be found on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library website)
Hopefully this season (2018) I will be able to capture more images and recordings of the spectacular Indigo Bunting. According to the eBird migration chart, sweet indigo’s should arrive in the Northeast around May 2nd and I can’t wait!
If you’re interested in live migration maps of other birds you can find them on BirdCast
All Images, Audio & Artwork © 2018 N.Fontaine