First Painted Bunting Banded at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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First Painted Bunting banded at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is a rare sight in Maryland.

A Painted Bunting held in the hand to display tail.

First Painted Bunting banded at the Bird Banding Lab's fall migration station at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. (Credit: Chelsea Steinbrecher-Hoffmann. Public domain.)

A Painted Bunting was banded at the Bird Banding Laboratory’s long-term fall migration station November 18, 2019. This is the first Painted Bunting captured and banded at the station since it was established in 1979. While Indigo Buntings are widespread and abundant in Maryland during the spring and summer months, Painted Buntings are a southern breeder and quite rare for the area at any time of year. This Painted Bunting was determined to be a hatching-year bird, meaning it hatched earlier this calendar year. Due to the bird’s young age, the sex was unable to be determined as male Painted Buntings do not grow their brightly colored adult plumage until their second autumn.

This is only the fourth Painted Bunting banded in the state of Maryland since 1960. A color-banded Painted Bunting was re-sighted multiple times in the state between 2017 and 2018 but was originally banded in North Carolina in 2015.