Painted Bunting

In honor of Prospect Park’s 150th year, I’m reposting some of my old posts about things seen and experienced in the park in the last seven years.

Backyard and Beyond

Passerina cirisA rare, resplendent adult male Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) has been in Prospect Park for two weeks now, attracting an enormous amount of media attention and hordes of viewers. Passerina cirisNote this big seed-cracking bunting bill. The bird has stuck to the area around and atop the new ice-skating complex, which has a green roof. The native plants there seem to be instrumental in providing him food. This mild weather, too, has made it feel like home. The attention paid to the bird means a feral cat in the area was even removed.Passerina cirisIt turns out there are two distinct populations of Passerina ciris, one found in the coastal southeast and the other in the south-central U.S. (I’ve seen them before, in Texas.) Perhaps this specimen is from the southeast (?). Word is that these populations will probably be split into two species soon by the taxonomic high…

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