Nature photographer has an unusual visitor in her yard

He’s a handsome fellow clad in brilliant blue and Kristen Shaw-Beaupre has been fortunate enough to have this Indigo Bunting visiting in her backyard.

Shaw-Beaupre is an avid photographer of wild birds, flora and fauna and often takes part in the Fall ‘Wild for the Arts’ show held at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, where she displays her nature photography each year.

One of the best known songbirds, the Indigo Bunting is a small migratory species that breeds in eastern North America and winters primarily in Mexico and Central America, as well as in the Caribbean and sparingly in southern Florida. It sings through the late spring and summer in brushy and weedy places and the older males are bright blue in plumage.

Their colorful appearance and cheerful songs are good reasons to fallow old fields and to spare (not spray) herbicides along railways and roads.  The bird is a constant singer from the time it arrives until the second brood is out of the nest, and it sings volubly during the hottest part of the day, usually selecting the top of some small tree and repeating its song many times before it seeks another perch. 

Unfortunately, like many shrub-land species, they are declining as their habitat regenerates to forest or is lost to suburbia or large-scale agriculture. Indigos avoid northern forest, so they don’t penetrate far into Canada and only breed in southernmost Ontario and Quebec where more southerly forest types predominate. 

According to experts, it is rare to see Indigo Buntings in urban or suburban areas but Shaw-Beaupre must have the perfect yard for this handsome fellow who has taken the time to pay an extended visit.