Unusual Visit From Very Colorful Bird Draws Crowds to Maryland Park
They don't know why he came, but they're sure glad he did.
News that a male painted bunting was spotted along the Potomac River in Maryland traveled fast. Birders flocked to Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park over the weekend, braving in the weather in hopes of catching a glimpse of the vibrant, multi-colored bird so far from its home.
A dark blue head, green back, and red underparts. His beauty was unmistakable… and unusual.
"They look like a splash of tempera paints splashed all over a canvas," Potomac resident Carla Morris told The Washington Post in disbelief.
Painted buntings are most commonly seen in Florida. Why this particular bird ended up so far north is unclear, but climate change is likely at play. A recent study from the National Audubon Society includes the painted bunting with the species of birds whose winter and breeding season ranges were found to have shifted.
The bird's presence in Maryland was first documented last week on the website eBird, and quickly spread through listservs and Facebook.
At one point on Saturday, more than 80 cars were in line to get into the park, the Post reports. Some were able to spot the little bird as it scrambled amongst the brush. Others even managed to snap a picture.
"It's just magical," Morris told the paper. "It's a magical way to start the new year."