Painted Bunting again

Eugene Hunn enhunn at
Sun Mar 3 12:42:52 PST 2002


The Painted Bunting was first located at the present spot by Violet, the
one-year-old daughter of the owner of the house with the feeder. She called
attention to the bird at their feeder by pointing and making appreciative

It appears, it seems, more or less hourly, hangs out for various periods of
time before slipping away.

The question of whether it is a truly wild bird or an escape will require
some research. Oregon has two accepted records:

Malheur N.W.R., Harney Co., 1 male in breeding plumage collected on 2 June
1963. In: Auk 82: 497, 1965. Specimen number USNM 479638 in U.S. National
Museum. First verified Oregon record.

Tumalo S.P., Deschutes Co., 1 immature female on 4 October 1981 (TC).

The California records committee seems to review half a dozen reports each
year, accepting most female and immature birds that show no suspicious signs
of having been held in captivity but skeptical of adult males, especially
from near the Mexican border, or those with signs of captivity (e.g., frayed
feathers, sores on legs or beak, orange versus red underparts... but the
question here is what do they mean by "orange," as Painted Buntings I've
seen in Mexico looked the same "tomato red" [i.e., orangish red] as this
bird). The fact that this bird shows a patch of yellow on the red breast may
or may not indicate that it is a first year male. I don't have the
references to determine if this is a sign of immaturity or a stage in the
normal annual molt cycle.

Curiously, what was certainly this same individual was reported at another
feeder in south Seattle February 10-13.

Whatever the final decision, it's a beauty. Almost as good a going to Mexico
for spring break!

Gene Hunn.

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