No, I’m not on vacation in Florida. Why would I leave New England in the winter? I love New England winters. (I say that now, the day before a big storm is supposed to hit.)
No, these Painted Bunting photos were taken in Stamford, Connecticut. It’s a rare sight to see a Painted Bunting (or anything this colorful) in New England, but this guy is back for his second New England winter. In fact, he is in the same location as he was last winter … in the yard of a birder/nature photographer, ironically enough.
Luckily he is in the yard of David Winston, one of the nicer guys you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t mind (in fact he welcomes) the birders who come see this incredible bird. David and Ginger also hosted this guy last winter, from March to April. Well, that’s really spring, you may say to yourself. Not last year, it wasn’t. Last March and early April were definitely winter.
It was surprising enough that this gaudy bird showed up in Stamford last year, but a repeat performance? It seems this guy is just wired differently than most Painted Buntings. How will this guy fare in the storm that is scheduled to hit New England sometime on Saturday (Jan. 23, 2016) morning? Who knows for sure, but probably (hopefully) OK as he survived much colder temperatures last winter.
The bird, should it stick around for awhile again, is toward the bottom (east end) of Cove Avenue in Stamford, across from Cove Island Park. Look for the cars and birders. Park across the street and walk over to see the star attraction. Fair warning: It’s not always around putting on a show. It’s definitely a hit-or-miss proposition. It’s around somewhere, but is it showing itself?
A Painted Bunting (presumably a different one) hung around a park in New York City last fall. That bird garnered all sorts of attention. New York Times. WCBS radio. NPR. This Stamford bird? It gets enough attention. Sightings are listed on the CTBirds website. The Hour newspaper (Norwalk). The bird itself couldn’t care less about the attention. It just wants to eat. David provides it with some seeds and bird pays him back by eating the seeds and therefore providing a show to the small crowd. A real win-win.
(Remember: Be respectful of the bird and neighbors. And thanks to David and Ginger for their willingness to share this awesome bird.)