When one has the pleasure of viewing a male Painted Bunting, it is like what it would be like to stand a feet feet from the brightest rainbow ever. These guys are so brilliantly colored it almost hurts your eyes to look them. I have seen them described as spectacular, gorgeous, awesome–they are those and more.
Painted Buntings have two breeding populations in the U.S.–the coastal Southeast population that is found from the Mid-Atlantic south to Florida and a second population that crosses Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas (with spillovers into parts of adjoining states). They have a tendency to wander so have been seen in many parts of the U.S. and even a few sightings in Canada.
Sadly this species has been in serious decline for some time. It is thought that the loss of habitat is the major reason for this decline though several other factors add to it. Because of this serious decline they are listed as Watch List species by the National Audubon Society.
There is an effort to develop strategies to “sustain the Eastern Painted Bunting population” called the Painted Bunting Observer Team. If you live in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida you can join this ‘citizen science’ group and help by adding your sightings of Painted Buntings: “By observing and reporting the activity of Painted Buntings at the feeder, volunteers help researchers develop data on populations in a variety of habitats (urban, suburban and rural) across a vast geographical area (including coastal and inland environments).” And if you live in Georgia you can open an account with them now as they are working to add a Georgia team soon. Even folks who live in other states where the population of Painted Buntings is more stable are welcome to add their sightings and photos though the study does not include those areas.
As with most other bird species, the female is not as brightly colored as the male. However, female Painted Buntings are a rather pretty green.
Do you have Painted Buntings coming to your yard?