2021—What Paints the Desert

In South Texas, the most colorful bird on the desert by far is the male Painted Bunting. To me, he is what paints the desert. It looks as if he has rolled across an artist’s palette. The colors are brilliant and some are almost like neon. The blue and red primary colors on his head and breast dominate but a bright yellow-green back provides contrast and adds to the palette. The rest of his feathers are variations and blends of the dominant colors. He is a gorgeous sight to behold. It was always a thrill to see him approach and he was unable to hide well in the trees because of his brilliant coloration so he was relatively easy to spot despite his small size. Mrs. Bunting has bright greenish yellow feathers but she appears drab by comparison to the male. Her visit to the pond always accurately predicted that the male would soon follow. What fun it was to see her bathing, knowing that we would soon see him and we were never disappointed. We photographed the Painted Bunting each day we were in South Texas.