This week, a bright-coloured male songbird has drawn the attention of a lot of people in Prospect Park, a public park located in Brooklyn, New York City.
Passerina ciris, commonly referred to as painted bunting, is a member of the Cardinal family that is native to North America. Painted buntings have never been seen – at least not recently – in Prospect Park (a 585 acres or 237 hectares park).
The Prospect Park Alliance said that this is the first recorded sighting of a male passerina ciris or painted bunting at the park in Brooklyn.
In 2011, Prospect Park visitors were able to observe a female painted bunting, which is less colourful than the male bird. The male painted bunting has stunningly colourful feathers, with a bright blue head, a flaming red belly, and yellow-green shoulders.
According to the Prospect Park Alliance, the male bird was probably on its way to Central America or Florida. Painted buntings usually migrate in the winter to warmer regions. However, their long journey normally takes place in September, which is why even some avian enthusiast were quite baffled at the sight of the bird in New York City in December.
Tom Stephenson, an author of bird books, said that the warmer November weather probably had nothing to do with the male painted bunting coming to New York City in December. It was likely a wind from the west that brought the bird to NYC. According to Stephenson, painted buntings are Liberace-like.
Photo enthusiast Tomasz Kapala was fascinated by the little bird. He went to the park during the week to avoid big crowds, and to be able to have a better look at the painted bunting. According to Kapala, Prospect Park is one of his favourite places in the city. When he read about the male painted bunting news, he promised himself to take a photo of the colourful bird.
Adult painted buntings can reach up to 4.7 to 5.5 inches (12–14 centimetres) in length, weigh between 0.46 and 0.67 oz (13–19 grams), and have a span across the wings of 8.3 to 9.1 inches (21–23 centimetres). Male painted buntings are bigger than females.
The birds are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act and have been classified as near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Image Source: images.natureworld