While Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, and American Goldfinches will all show up at bird feeders here in the northeast and share their brilliant blue, red, and yellow visages, we have no bird at our feeders to compare to the Painted Bunting. While I have mentioned their technicolor dreamcoats before it never hurts to mention again that a bird made of blue, yellow, red, and green is absurd and proof that nature is awesome.

And you know what makes nature in the form of Painted Buntings even more awesome?  When two males and a female are all showing up at the visitor center of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge during the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Hundreds of birders filtered through the visitor center during the festival and can you blame them?

Though my arrival was poorly timed, in the late afternoon when the light was not hitting the feeders, the brilliance of a male Painted Bunting can actually light up a room, which sadly leads to many being captured by utility companies seeking to find a source for cheap energy.* I will never grow tired of watching Painted Buntings, not that it is likely that I will have the opportunity to do so, living in New York as I do.

Though both males and a female were present and all three visited the feeders I never managed to get a shot of two males at once. This might be a good thing because I believe that such an occurrence could have destroyed my camera. No, I had to make do with shots of a male and a female Painted Bunting.

If you ever are in Florida or if you live there now, or anywhere where these amazing birds can be found, make sure that you appreciate them. Otherwise, those of us who don’t get to see them often will consider you an ingrate.  And, whatever you do, never tell the power companies where Painted Buntings are…

*Of course this isn’t true at all. I just wanted to make sure that you were awake.

10,000 Birds is a Scrub Jay-level sponsor of the 15th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.