Lazuli Bunting (Passerina Amoena), which means beautiful sparrow, may be Oregon’s most colorful bird, brilliant blue with a cinnamon chest. Named for the gemstone Lapis Lazuli, this bunting is found commonly on the edges of forests in the Cascades. A seed and bug eater, the Lazuli Bunting inhabits scrubby brush areas that often contain patches of grass.

When first-year males arrive on their breeding areas, they mimic the other males in order to learn a territorial song, often adding their own unique melodies. As a result of this learning behavior, their songs vary from one area to another. They build a nest two to four feet off the ground and the male will feed the female while she is incubating three to four pale-blue eggs. Both parents feed the chicks a diet of insects, berries, and seeds, and after 11 days they fledge. They will raise two or three broods over the summer.

They will gather together in August and September to begin their migration to Arizona and Mexico. When grouped collectively they are known as a “decoration,” a “mural,” or a “sacrifice” of buntings. For more bunting photos, visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasasong.com/recent-journeys.