How to Attract Indigo Buntings to Your Backyard. Useful Tips

how to attract indigo buntings

That tree’s vivid patch of sky was stunning, and you were left wondering how to attract indigo buntings to your yard. Fortunately, this bird is more common than you may imagine.

Although these birds appear to be highly elusive, you may already have them in your backyard. However, how can you make them more visible?

The best way to attract Indigo Buntings and other insect-eating birds to our yards, we must take a multi-faceted strategy. That begins with giving them the food they enjoy at our feeders – generally tiny seeds like thistle or nyjer, as well as white proso millet. Sunflower chips, such as those found in no-mess mixes can also attract these lovely birds. Finch mixes that include several of these favorite seeds, as well as live or dried mealworms, will keep them coming back to our feeders to see what they have to offer.

You’ll be thrilled to see these beautiful birds in your backyard without much effort if you offer food, shelter and know what you’re looking for.

Indigo Buntings are really attractive

The all-blue male Indigo Bunting sings happily and like a piece of sky with wings. In the late spring and summer, these brightly colored but widespread birds, often known as “blue canaries,” whistle their exuberant tunes throughout eastern North America.

Indigo Buntings can be seen singing from dawn to sunset atop the highest perch in sight or foraging on seeds and insects in low vegetation in weedy fields and shrubby areas near trees.

Unfortunately, Indigo Buntings are challenging to identify, making it difficult to figure out how to attract them to your yard. Thankfully, there are a few options for bringing in this bright and cheerful bird.

When competing over territory, males frequently take a butterfly-like approach. They expand their wings and flail gently towards each other.

They may even assault each other during the breeding season. Males develop their songs from other males, but not from their dads, as the birds acquire their songs from one another.

These brightly colored critters are a joy to attract to your bird feeder.

Buntings can be attracted by food

These birds like a wide variety of meals. Almost every type of berry and typical forager seeds, including dandelions, thistle, oats, and many more.

However, you’ll have more results in northeastern breeding locations with tree-related seeds and moving insects like caterpillars and worms. These birds love these seeds, but they prefer nyjer and thistle seeds much more.

Because these birds aren’t picky, you may already have everything you need to answer the issue of how to attract indigo buntings to your yard. However, if you want to improve your chances, put thistle and nyjer seeds in your bird feeders to entice them to visit your yard.

It will be nice to see these birds in your yard, but wouldn’t it be better if you were closer to them in the first place?

They need a place to build their nest

These birds are commonly seen sitting on a telephone line through the trees since they inhabit in and around open forests. They build their nests in bushes and weeded areas in fields, so you’re in luck if you live near the woods or open fields.

Indigo Bustlings don’t usually make their nests in birdhouses or structures. They prefer low-lying areas to rear their young and avoid being disturbed.

These birds may proliferate swiftly since they only have two broods per year and just a few days to rear their young. So if you see one, there’s a good chance you’ll see more.

They’ll be easier to see around abandoned farms and along railroad tracks and power wires. So if you live near either, you’ll have no trouble finding these colorful critters.

Berries are an essential dietary source

Many types of berries attract Indigo Buntings, including blueberries, strawberries, serviceberries, blackberries, and elderberries, to name a few. Many of these fruits may be purchased at local grocery shops and fed to pets. But why not start now to ensure that at least some of these berries grow organically in our gardens?

By planting a handful of these berry growers and allowing an area of your garden to go wild with wild strawberries, raspberries, and other berries, you’ll be providing ideal habitat for a variety of berry-eating birds. Indigo buntings hunt on seeds, bugs, and berries in these natural settings. They can be observed flying around in the meadows or the shrubbery.
They will even consume the buds of their favorite trees and shrubs in the spring. There’s little doubt that these “wild” patches provide excellent habitat for a variety of insects, as well as attract birds to that particular corner of your yard.

The key to your success: Insects

Now let’s speak about those insects on which Indigo Buntings rely for their life.

Using pesticides indiscriminately would not result in success. You should make every effort to provide a pesticide-free environment for the animals in your yard.

It’s never a bad idea to post a sign in your front yard stating that your home is pesticide-free.

Unfortunately, we have little influence over what our neighbors do, but we may hope that they will follow our lead and limit or eliminate pesticide usage on their properties.

Eliminating pesticides is a good start, but if you live in a regular suburban neighborhood, you may need to go above and beyond to make your home insect-friendly.

Here are some ideas for increasing the number of insects on your property, along with links to previous Ferns & Feathers postings.

Plant an oak tree

If at all feasible, find a spot in your yard where an oak tree may be planted. According to studies, oak trees host the most insects and caterpillars of all the trees in the forest. There is no finer tree in the landscape to sustain a healthy insect and population without delving into great detail.

And this is only a tiny part of the fauna that is reliant on a single oak tree. The giant oak supports more wildlife than any other tree we may plant in our gardens, with 534 species.

Create a brush pile

Make a brush pile by choosing an area of the yard and picking up twigs, branches, and other woody clippings from the garden. In the corner, some old grasses or last year’s leaves could also find a home.

You’re not trying to construct a compost pile (though an active compost pile is fine), but rather a spot for insects to congregate, preferably out of the sun.

The branches will fall over time, providing an ideal home for insects and other tiny creatures. There are two such locations in our yard: a large mound in one corner that grows every year.

Some could call it an open compost pile, but I never turn it, haven’t removed any “compost,” and only top it with garden waste in the fall, such as grass clippings, leaves, and old container plants.

The other is the effect of the tree business leaving the branches on the ground after trimming two enormous trees. There is an open brush pile in our yard that serves as a favorite playground for the chipmunks and red squirrels.

Let some fruit to rot

Allowing some fruit to spoil is an excellent technique to attract fruit flies. I keep bits of apple, watermelon, oranges for the Orioles, bananas, and other fruits in a little hanging birdbath. These attract a variety of insects, as well as butterflies and other butterflies. When the fruits begin to overripen, they are relocated to the open compost area.

Leave your leaves on the ground in the fall

This is the single most essential thing you can do to stimulate insect life in your woodland garden. It is crucial for insectivorous birds through the extremes of winter when food is sparse and spring, when migrating birds return, hungry for rich protein sources.

Despite living in a neighborhood bordered by wooded Conservation areas, most of my neighbors are obsessed with raking up every single leaf on their lawns and in their yards.

Every autumn through spring, they put out bags and bags of leaves to guarantee that not a single leaf remains on their properties.

When I look out the window in late fall, winter, or early spring and see a swarm of birds rummaging among the leaves hunting for insects and larvae, it reminds me how vital it is to leave the leaves on the ground.

Mud puddles or shallow spots

Many insects, including butterflies, are attracted to small mud puddles to drink and get much-needed nutrients from the soil.

Popular hangouts

These birds do not venture far from their woodland paradises. The females build their nests low to the ground, occasionally in agricultural plants.

It doesn’t matter how much food you put out or how low you plant your bushes; they don’t like cities. They don’t enjoy the commotion of cities, so you’re unlikely to spot one unless you’re out in the countryside.

Look for power lines, railroad tracks, and field margins, particularly near barns. You never know when you’ll come upon one.

Males can be seen around feeders, along power lines, and on the margins of trees. Because they aren’t always vivid blue, you may have previously noticed them!

It’s possible you missed them

Have you considered that indigo buntings may already be visiting your feeder if you’re looking for a way to attract them to your yard? Indigo Bustlings aren’t always blue; they might be black as well.

So be wary of mistaking them for nasty birds who create havoc! These are some of the few birds you want to keep around, yet they’re easy to misidentify.

The feathers of these intelligent birds have a genetic adaptation that allows them to refract light. When they’re in the sun, they appear blue, and they appear black when they’re in the shadow. When one of these sky slices is in the shadow, it’s practically hard to tell which is which because they’re dark in the shade.

They blend in nicely with the dark bushes in which they nest and use the light refraction technique to disguise themselves when flying quickly. This helps them attract partners, sometimes of a different species, and keeps them safe from predators.

Females have no blue at all, while young males exhibit blue only seldom. This makes it tough to discover this bird in your backyard; it’s impossible to tell if they’re already there or not!

Keep an eye on your bird feeders and place them in the sun if you want Indigo Buntings to visit. Before you shoo a bird away, make sure you know what sort of bird you’re dealing with.

Final thoughts

You don’t need to go any farther if you’re wondering how to attract indigo buntings to your yard. To begin with, they may already be there, and if not, these brilliant birds have a unique environment in which they prefer to dwell and special seeds that they enjoy.

If you utilize the appropriate seeds, berries and bugs, you should have no problem attracting indigo buntings to your yard. It helps to have the right environment around you, and understanding what to watch out for is your most challenging obstacle.

Keep your eyes peeled for patches of sky in your trees; you never know when you’ll catch a glimpse of this wonderful blue bird.

Default image
Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.