Date: 7/15/17 8:44 am
From: Bill Shepherd <stoneax63...>
Subject: strange songs from Indigo Buntings

Early Thursday morning (July 13) I took a bird walk from the Pointe West Motel & Suites on Highway 187 in Carroll County, AR. This location is approximately one mile south of Beaver Lake Dam and more like half-a-mile south of the big water-filtration plant.

Near the motel I heard, I think, three Indigo Buntings singing. I didn't actually see any of them, but it certainly did look like good habitat for Indigo Buntings, and the tonal quality/timbre of the songs also fitted Indigo Buntings. Not far from there I also heard a Blue Grosbeak singing. Furthermore, I didn't notice any glades, much less any large ones, in the vicinity.

But the songs I heard Thursday were far from typical for Indigo Buntings. Instead, THEY SOUNDED MORE LIKE RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS!

Forty-plus years ago I recall hearing (and maybe recording) similar songs from Indigo Buntings that lived cheek-by-jowl with Rufous-crowned Sparrows on the south-facing slope of Magazine Mtn. It was easy then to theorize that infant male buntings had heard lots of Rufous-crowned Sparrow song from their nests and that that experience influenced how they sang when they became adult.

But my experience Thursday morning now makes me strongly question my previous interpretation of what I heard on Magazine way back when. Unfortunately, I didn't have with me any equipment for recording the songs that I heard Thursday morning. Do the Indigo Buntings on Magazine still sing like RCSs? Do they, Don?


Bill Shepherd

Bill Shepherd 2805 Linden, Apt. 3 Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-5964 <Stoneax63...> (501) 375-3918

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