The first indigo bunting that I saw in the holler this year was a female that landed on some old milkweed stems in my planter garden.
Indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) female, April 26, 2022 [Photo: Cathie Bird]
A few days later, I started seeing a male. He came back almost everyday in late afternoon, but I never caught sight of another female.
Indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) male, April 30, 2022 [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Adult indigo bunting (male) with a seed he found. June 26, 2022 [Photo: Cathie Bird]
On June 29th, I thought I spotted another adult female. A short time later, a male indigo bunting joined this bird and they foraged in the grass together. After a few minutes observing them, I noticed that the first bird was just kind of following the male around, occasionally opening its bill wide. When I got a good look through binoculars, it was clear that the bill I was seeing was that of a fledgling.
Adult indigo bunting dad introduces a fledgling to the planter garden and feeding areas of the yard, June 29, 2022 [Photo: Cathie Bird]
On that visit, the dad and his fledgling stayed in the taller grass at the edge of the yard. It was difficult to get a good photo.
Dad and fledgling return to forage on June 30, 2022. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
The following day, however, the dad and fledgling returned and foraged in more open areas of the yard. I was able to get a photo of the fledgling getting a seed or two on its own as well as taking food offered by the parent.
Indigo fledgling finds some seeds on its own, June 30, 2022 [Photo: Cathie Bird]
The parent and fledgling continued to forage together every day for awhile. The young bird would often get here first, and some days -- for example, on July 4th -- it came several times without the parent.
Fledgling on the 4th of July, foraging on its own. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
The fledgling on a white oak branch, July 4, 2022. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
I haven't seen the younger bird now for several days, but an adult male indigo bunting has been here several times, usually early morning and late afternoon. This year was the first time I'd seen and identified an indigo bunting fledgling. I'm still hearing indigo songs out in the woods near the house and down in the flatter parts of the holler and my neighbors' fields.