Attracting Indigo Buntings

5:00 AM

The number one question we've been getting lately is "what is that bright blue bird that I have been seeing in my yard?" Typically the answer is an Indigo Bunting, a small blue songbird that breeds in Ontario during the spring and summer months.  The second most popular question is inevitably "how can I keep them coming back to my bird feeder?"  The latter question is typically the more difficult question to answer.  While Indigo Buntings do enjoy foods offered at bird feeders, spiders and insect prey, is the majority of their diet during summer months.  However there are some foods you can put out to encourage them to stay around your yard throughout the spring and summer months. 


Indigo Buntings eat a wide variety of foods including small seeds, insects and plant buds.  According the the All About Birds page on Indigo Buntings from the Lab of Ornithology "Common seed forage includes thistles, dandelions, goldenrods, and grain such as oats; berries eaten include blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, serviceberries, and elderberries. Spiders and insect prey, which form the majority of their diet during summer months, may include caterpillars, grasshoppers, aphids, cicadas and beetles such as canker worms, click beetles, and weevils. On arrival to breeding grounds in spring, Indigo Buntings may feed on twigs, buds, and leaves of trees including aspen, cottonwood, oaks, beech, elm, maple, and hickory."

As far as bird feeders go  Indigo Buntings enjoy small seems including Nyjer, sunflower chips and if ousted away from feeders by larger birds they may eat millet off the ground.  As they enjoy eating insects during the summer months one of the best foods to put out for Indigo Buntings are live mealworms.  Many of our backyard birds enjoy eating live insects and feed them to their young.  Offering live mealworms is a way to offer your backyard birds live insects while enjoying watching them.  Indigo Buntings also enjoy eating Birdacious® Bark Butter® Bits which are soft suet nuggets enjoyed by a wide variety of birds

An Indigo Bunting eating sunflower chips from Rascal the Raccoon


An Indigo Bunting eating sunflower chips

An Indigo Bunting feeding on Birdacious® Bark Butter® Bits

Indigo Buntings eating Nyjer

An Indigo Bunting eating sunflower seeds

 Have some more tips to ad for feeding Indigo Buntings?  Feel free to post a comment below!

~ Kristen Martyn

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