Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Indigo Bunting

Posted by Steve Rushing on June 2, 2022 at 5:22 pm
Views 203

Indigo Bunting plumage is dull brown black from the pigment melanin. That is, until the feathers meet sunlight. Then the blue wavelengths are refracted & reflected back to our eyes by microscopic structures within the feathers.
This is much like airborne particles turning the sky blue. And why seeing an Indigo Bunting is like seeing a small piece of the sky perched in a tree.
Indigo Buntings are numerous, at the moment, but their populations are dropping. 26% since the 1960s. Same cast of culprits related to habitat loss & degradation. Indigo Buntings, like their cousins Painted Buntings, have an additional threat. Their beauty makes them prime targets for the illegal, but thriving, caged bird market.