Watching a territorial male at Carolina Beach State Park

For the past few weeks I have been watching a single male (black/pink and purple/silver) at the Carolina Beach State Park who is extremely territorial. If there's another male nearby, he'll chase him off.  It is common for male Painted Buntings to be highly territorial and aggressive toward each other. Fights will occur between males, which include pecking, beating with wings, and grappling.  He is never too far away because his "throne" sits atop a tree just across the field from the feeder. He never stops singing to defend his territory!

More public outreach than observations at Fort Fisher Aquarium

The Fort Fisher Aquarium was a tough site to watch today. On top of the fact that there was a ton of noisy visitors, the grackles and crows were chasing off all the buntings!  Even though the feeders have cages around them to keep out predators, the larger birds would swoop down and scare the feeding bunting right out! And because of this, getting band colors was difficult. However, I had fun talking to all the visitors that passed by, wondering what I was doing. Read more »

RUMOR HAS IT OUR BUNTINGS ARE MAKING BABIES!

For the most part, our Painted Buntings have made their way back to the Carolinas from their winter homes in Florida, Cuba and Mexico – sightings reports are now scarce from our friends in Florida.  In fact, even reports from the Carolinas have become more infrequent, as our buntings settle in and begin nesting in the breeding range.  While the female is on the nest (incubating and brooding), both parents eat insects and are rarely seen visiting the feeder.  The female builds the nest by herself and is the more attentive parent during nesting, but the male may make occasional Read more »

THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN!

Okay, I'll admit it, none of our Carolina friends have actually quoted that song in an email to me, but they easily could have!  We're hearing of more and more returning males (and some greenies) to South Carolina, and more recently to coastal North Carolina – in fact, one male has even shown up inland (near Greenville, NC), surprising the homeowner with his first-ever sighting.  Of course, this winter has been a little unusual all around, with Painted Buntings overwintering in several places along coastal North Carolina – a relative rarity, especially considering our cold winter Read more »

APRIL MEANS SPRING MIGRATION FOR OUR PAINTED BUNTINGS

Have you noticed sudden changes in the numbers of Painted Buntings on your feeders in Florida lately?  Are you seeing Painted Buntings in northern Florida, or along the Panhandle?  These are signs that spring migration is underway!  You may be able to spot these colorful birds on your feeders in north-central Florida, along the Florida Panhandle, in Georgia, and even in the Carolinas throughout April as they travel from their winter homes (in southern Florida, Cuba, and Mexico) to their breeding range (in Georgia, South Carolina, and coastal North Carolina).  We really a Read more »

SPRING'S SPOTLIGHT ON THE GREEN PAINTED BUNTING

You may not pay much attention to your “greenies” – your female and first- and second-year male Painted Buntings – but spring is their time to shine in Florida!  The adult males are often the first to leave on migration, so in the next month our Florida friends may notice their population of colorful males dwindle.  This leaves the spotlight on the greenies, and there is plenty to see!  You may see your females linger on the feeder longer without the agitation of the feisty adult males (who become more aggressive as we enter the breeding season), and they can be as charismati Read more »

MANY VALENTINES FOR PBOT AND PAINTED BUNTINGS

We here at PBOT Headquarters have been humbled by how many of you have joined Friends of PBOT and given generously to ensure our program can continue for many years to come.  PBOT is still a small grassroots organization at heart, we just happen to have over 1500 wonderful members!  We have also been impressed with how busy you have been for us in the first month of this year – nearly 2300 reports and 30 new volunteers in January alone!  We have appreciated the number of Timed Read more »

A NEW WAY FOR YOU TO HELP THE PAINTED BUNTING: FRIENDS OF PBOT

The PBOT staff has been considering the long-term future of the PBOT program, which has grown from a grassroots effort to study Painted Buntings into a web-based citizen-science program with over 1500 volunteer accounts in just 5 years.  Dr. Read more »

"WARM AND HEALTHY" HOLIDAY WISHES TO EVERYONE!

Well, as you might be able to tell by the lack of new blogs, the holidays have been keeping me busy – and it looks like our Painted Buntings have been keeping you busy!  While males are still a bit scarce, the numbers of green Painted Buntings at the feeder are significant and the reports are pouring in from all over Florida.  Thanks, as always, for taking a little time out of your busy schedule to report your sightings!  The chilly weather we’ve all been subjected to makes our birds even more thankful for the well-stocked feeders we provide (and the heated birdbaths some of Read more »

HOW DO "TIMED SIGHTING" REPORTS FROM FLORIDA HELP PBOT?

It looks like a bunch of you appreciated the primer on the Timed Sighting report – we are receiving a lot more of them these days! I’m glad you are finding that form so useful! I want to encourage those of you reporting Timed Sightings to also do some timing of your birds’ visits for the Duration section of the form. To do this, simply time how long some of your birds sit on the feeder during your watch, and record those stays under Add Bird Times on the form. Read more »