Indigo buntings are common in wood margins, hedgerows, and brushy clearings. The male indigo bunting, depicted in Indigo Bunting-Redbud, prefers to sing from a wire or branch, staking claim to the surrounding area. He will defend his territory vigorously until late into the summer. Female and immature indigo buntings are mostly brown with a tinge of blue on their shoulder and tail. Smaller and colored a more intense blue than the better-known bluebird, the indigo bunting also lacks the rusty, red breast and white under-tail coverts. Though the male is an intense blue to indigo color, his small size makes him difficult to recognize from a distance, without the aid of binoculars. I’m sure many people have seen them on drives through the country without realizing it. In this painting I have chosen the branches of a blooming redbud tree for the bunting’s perch. The redbud tree and indigo bunting can both be found across much of Eastern and Central United States.
Redbuds are a rather inconspicuous tree most of the year, except in the spring when their leafless branches are covered by pink to magenta clusters of small blossoms. Toward the end of the flowering season the leaves start to emerge. Usually redbuds will drop their 2 to 3 inch long pods before the spring bloom, though sometimes you can find trees with both last year’s pods and new blossoms at the same time. The redbud is a favorite of many people for landscaping, including George Washington, who often dug them in the woods and moved them into his garden at Mt. Vernon.
The butterfly, resting on last year’s seedpod in the painting’s lower right, is a spring azure. It is one of a group of small, bluish butterflies, appropriately called ‘blues’. ‘Blues’ are butterflies frequenting meadows and woodland openings with abundant flowers. The spring azure is one of the most adaptable blues, its caterpillar (larvae) feed on a number of host plants from the Gulf of Mexico to the edge of the tundra.
It’s tempting to daydream about traveling to the mountains, oceans, or forests to see spectacular scenes, but often we only need to look in our own backyard to find and enjoy nature’s wonders.
SN Edition: 1250 prints @ $55 (SOLD OUT*)
AP Edition: 125 prints @ $70 (SOLD OUT*)
Image size: 6.25 x 12
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