Indigo Bunting

This morning the sweet-sweet, chew-chew, sweet-sweet song of an Indigo Bunting pierced the air over the old field, a small sound but somehow clear and sharp enough to stand out even above the traffic noise from the highway below.

It was mid-morning, already hot and sunny, with a hazy blue sky. Small orange and yellow butterflies flew over banks of pink wild roses, rampant among the grass, vines and briars in the field, and along the roadside bloomed tall-stemmed daisies, furry rabbit’s foot clover, false dandelions, low-growing purple stiff verbena and other small wildflowers in dusty white, yellow, pale violet, blue and red. The warm, summery scent of honeysuckle and gardenias drifted out from privet thickets and dense green shrubs.

Though the Indigo Bunting sang and sang, at first glance it looked impossible to find such a little bird in such a large, complicated expanse of shrubs and weeds and trees – but I knew it was likely to be at the top of something. After only a few minutes of looking, sure enough, there it was – standing out as clearly as its song – a tiny shape of gleaming indigo-blue against a faded powder-blue sky. It was perched in the top of a water oak in the heavily wooded section of the field, on the edge of a power cut, a small drop of sheer intensity and purity of color and song, an exquisite jewel of a bird in a rough, tough setting.

In the background, White-eyed Vireo, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Towhee and Pine Warbler sang, Northern Cardinals peeped, and a Mourning Dove cooed. A Brown-headed Cowbird high on a wire creaked a rusty, jingling call.

Leave a Reply