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A Species Of Concern

By Sarah Diaz for The Island Eye News

The painted bunting population is declining.

The painted bunting is a strikingly beautiful songbird that can be found in the Lowcountry from spring to mid-fall. There are two separate breeding populations – one in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida and a second centered around Texas and Oklahoma.

The Eastern population is declining significantly, which is why Partners in Flight lists them as a species of concern. Painted buntings overwinter in the Caribbean and Central America, where they are sometimes captured and sold on the black market as caged birds. Habitat loss in their summer range is believed to be the main factor in their decline.

If you want to attract painted as well as indigo buntings to your feeder, you can offer them white millet. I have had good luck attracting a wide variety of songbirds by mixing equal parts of black oil sunflower and white millet. You may want to consider investing in a high-quality, squirrel-proof feeder. You will save in the long run, since squirrels are quite adept at dumping tiny millet seeds and quickly emptying cheap feeders.

The Sullivan’s Island Bird Banding Station has put normal operations on hold due to the current situation with COVID-19. For more information, you can contact Sarah Díaz at

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