Thank you to Hiatt Manufacturing for letting us publish this article by Don and Lillian Stokes on how to attract Buntings.
1) Buntings are among our most colorful backyard songbirds. There are four species in North America: Lazuli Bunting, Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, and Varied Bunting. The Lazuli ranges throughout the West; the Indigo Bunting lives throughout the East. The other two have more limited ranges, the Painted living in the Southeast and the Varied in only the extreme Southwest.
2) In all of our buntings, the males and females look very different. The males are very colorful and the females are either brownish or greenish which helps protect them during their important raising of young. Young males in their first year often look more like the adult females but with a few colorful feathers thrown in. Painted Buntings males are the most colorful of the buntings and have just about all the colors of the rainbow. Indigo Bunting males are brilliant blue.
3) Buntings are all seed-eaters, which is why they can be attracted to feeders. They have short conical bills that enable them to husk the seeds that they find. They are particularly attracted to white proso millet or seed mixes that contain white millet. They also eat sunflower and hulled sunflower.
4) Attract buntings with Stokes Select® Tube, Hopper, Screen or Tray feeders.
5) Buntings are often very shy around feeders. Because of this it is often best to have bunting feeders farther away from the house from regular comings and goings of human activity. If you are watching your feeders from outside, be very still, so as not to scare them off.
6) Buntings like protected places to fly into near the feeders, so place your feeders near trees and shrubs.
7) Like all birds, buntings need water, so be sure to have a clean bird bath near the feeders during the warmer months.
8) Most buntings will be seen in summer and during migration, but there are a few spots where you can attract them throughout the winter as well in special locations. The Painted Bunting comes to winter feeders in the southern half of Florida (see photo below of the male Painted Bunting at the NEW Stokes Select® High Capacity Feeder); the Indigo Bunting may also be seen in winter in southern Florida, as well as along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas. The Lazuli Bunting may winter in southeast Arizona and the Varied Bunting may winter in southwest Texas along the Rio Grande.
9) To make your yard more attractive to nesting buntings have dense shrubbery, thickets, and small trees. This is where they usually place their nests, often 2–10 off the ground, although the Painted Bunting may build up to 25 ft. off the ground.