Painted Buntings - Patuxent Wildlife Research Center - Thousands of volunteers assist wildlife biologists in conducting the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), which is organized and managed by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Each volunteer surveys a 25-mile roadside circuit by stopping for three minutes every one-half mile and counting all birds that are seen or heard. These surveys provide wildlife biologists with valuable trends for many of our bird populations.
One of these species, the Painted Bunting, scientific name: Passerina ciris, ranks high for need of attention in important coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Unlike declining populations of forest interior migratory birds that need large areas of unbroken forests, the Painted Bunting depends on young shrub and grassland habitat for breeding and nesting primarily in upland maritime shrub-scrub habitat of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain from North Carolina to northeastern Florida.
Painted Buntings can also use shrub-scrub habitat in open pine and maritime oak forests. This upland coastal habitat on barrier islands and coastal mainland is highly vulnerable to loss from development.
Recently wildlife biologists in GA have completed studies that provide some important information on Painted Bunting survival and habitat use. Although not all the answers have been found to restore the Painted Bunting population to levels of the 1960s, it is clear that many management practices can be modified or initiated to enhance the population of this declining species.
We hope that the information and recommendations provided will not only stimulate interest in the recovery of the Painted Bunting, but also become a stepping stone to many other conservation issues in our coastal wildlife habitats.