Every child knows the bluebird, possibly the kingfisher and the blue jay, too, but there is only one other bird with blue feathers, the little indigo bunting, who is no larger than your pet canary, that you are ever likely to meet unless you live in the Southwest where the blue grosbeak might be your neighbour. If, by chance, you should see a little lady indigo-bird you would probably say contemptuously: “Another tiresome sparrow,” and go on your way, not noticing the faint glint of blue in her wings and tail. Otherwise her puzzling plumage is decidedly sparrowy, although unstreaked. So is that of her immature sons. But her husband will be instantly recognised because he is the only very small bird who wears a suit of deep, rich blue with verdigris-green reflections about the head—bluer than the summer sky which pales where his little figure is outlined against it.
Mounting by erratic, short flights from the weedy places and bushy tangles he hunts among to the branches of a convenient tree, singing as he goes higher and higher, he remains for a time on a conspicuous perch and rapidly and repeatedly sings. When almost every other bird is moulting and moping, he warbles with the same fervour and timbre. Possibly because he has the concert stage almost to himself in August, he gets the credit of being a better performer than he really is. Only the pewee and the red-eyed vireo, whom neither midday nor midsummer heat can silence, share the stage with him then.
Text: Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan
Author of “Bird Neighbours,” “Birds that Hunt and Are Hunted,”
“Nature’s Garden,” and “How to Attract the Birds.”
NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP
1907 by Doubleday, Page & Company
Title: Indigo bunting
Alternative Title: Passerina cyanea
Description: An attractive Indigo Bunting perches on a branch in the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge located in Iowa.
Subject: Birds, Birdwatching, Perching birds, Wildlife refuges
Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Date created 2011-07-27