Brionnes Indigo Bunting discussion question

Jim Chiropolos

Today I biked from the house and saw the indigo bunting, plus Lawrence’s goldfinches seeing two new green birds at Brionnes, one the east bays under the radar better birding locations (I saw 47 species in windy conditions with several common species not seen).

The bunting was at The location Teale provided (thanks!!) singing within one foot of the top of the tallest bay tree looking over the fence. It sang at 9:20, I arrived at 9:30, it sang again at 10, I left at 10:20 - soon after it reappeared (of course) and I then saw it on a return at 10:35 singing. The habitat is perfect habitat for edge living Indigo b

So my discussion question. Which of the following options does this bird fall into?

1. This is the same bird as the 2018 bunting - songbirds can live maybe up to 11 years or so with maybe a 50 to 60 percent annual survival rate.... There is habitat in the other side if the fence it can use and go under the radar.
2. The 2018 bunting successfully bred and this is one if its offspring.
3. This area of Brionnes is the best bay area habitat and buntings zero in in this location due to habitat and migration strategies (this area is within 100 yards of where I saw the 2018 bird).
4. This bird is a hybrid descendant of the 2018 bird - this seems unlikely as it is all navy blue with no white or orange. Merlin did identify the song as Lazuli for another birder but I dint know how merlin works and I recognized the song as a Lazuli-indigo type song -I’m not good enough with bunting songs to tell the difference but I think the Indigo bunting would chase a calling Lazuli off its territorial perch if a Lazuli had the courage to call from the Indigo’s perch.

I welcome all good discussion and there is no right answer. I think I lean towards option 1 and if so, this bird is a survivor!

On an aside note, not many Lazuli buntings in the park. I feel with droughts, Lazuli numbers are much less than 3 years ago (50 percent or more) and this is typical for most east bay migrants that breed here - and I’m sorry to say that....

Jim Chiropolos
Biking from Orinda....