Some bird mothers go to great lengths to distract predators away from their nest and/or fledgling chicks. They feign injury, flapping like they are wounded but can’t fly, chirping loudly to attract attention to themselves and away from their chicks. I’ve seen Kildeer do this many times, as they lead me on a merry chase away from their nest. For example…
But I’ve never heard of small songbirds using this strategy, until I saw it in action today when a female Indigo Bunting led me all over the backyard as I tried to find her nest and her chirping chicks.
Moving around in the underbrush of the wildflower garden, I discovered two of her chicks, also chirping loudly, but hidden from view until one of them tried to cross a patch of grass.
Meanwhile, its mother is still chirping away at me, from all over the garden.
- although Indigo Buntings are about the size of a Goldfinch and the female sort of resembles a female Goldfinch (but lacks those distinctive wingbars), they are actually members of the Cardinal family.
- the blue color (especially evident in males) does not come from a blue pigment, but is due to special reflective particles in the feathers that scatter light and reflect blue wavelengths. Read more about blue coloration in animals by clicking here.