Birds Flying Solo
Many birds visit my feeders, often in pairs. However, the males of some species, such as indigo buntings, always arrive solo. Why don't I see them with a mate?
—Debby Videto, Bowden, West Virginia
George: There's more than one answer to your question. First, if it's nesting season, the females may be incubating eggs or feeding young. The other possibility is that, in some cases, the males and females look so different from one another that they may not appear to be a pair. The female indigo bunting is light brown with little or no blue in her feathers. Finally, it's common behavior among many species for males and females to feed and bathe separately during the breeding season. This may help defend the pair from being preyed upon at the same time.