The photo 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 little cutie and as I untangled my gear, it noticed me. Now I’m sure you can guess what happened. Yup, it flew right back up the hill. 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. Ha! 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 between the same singing perches. It wasn’t just passing by, this was its territory. Comforted by my observation, I was able to set aside my illogical eagerness to capture this sweet Indigo and slowly make my way back down to the tall chokeberry (Aronia spp.) it was using as its main stage. So I set up my gear and patiently waited.
Finally, the male came along, and to my surprise, a female popped up as well. They chattered back and forth, bobbing in and out of the shrubs. Eventually she flew off into the dense brush and he began to sing. Everything was happening so fast – 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