Mariton: My First Indigo Bunting

July 22, 2019

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Carole recently visited Mariton to photograph the bergamot in the fields.  While doing that she also came across a very cooperative Indigo Bunting.  This is a striking species.

I remember seeing my very first Indigo Bunting like it was yesterday.  I was a teenager and riding to work with my dad on a remote gravel road.  The bird streaked in front of the truck.  My dad and I both looked at each other and said, “What kind of bird was that?!”  Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait to get home that evening to consult a bird book.  Dad was building a house for a chemical engineer who was also an avid birder.  When Doc Carter showed up at the job site later that day, we both assaulted him with our sighting.  With  little hesitation he told us what we had seen.  He returned shortly with the dog-eared bird book that he kept in his car “just in case”.  That confirmed that we’d seen an Indigo Bunting.  I now also keep an used bird book in the car (and many other places) “just in case”.

I often forget that my birding passion wasn’t built overnight.  There were many, many building blocks, some more memorable than others, that established the foundation.  But once the foundation was laid, the rest followed quickly.  Doc is long gone I’m sure, but it would be nice if he knew what avid birders Dad and I eventually became.  That Indigo Bunting sighting (and knowing Doc Carter) was just one of several bird encounters that eventually led me to keep a pair of binoculars handy.