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Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea


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credit: Dan Pancamo/CCSA

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Migration Info During winter, Indigo Buntings may be found over a large area from central Mexico to northern South America, but they are most common from eastern coastal Mexico through Costa Rica. Spring migration occurs along a broad front and includes movement around and across the Gulf of Mexico. The population that breeds in Arizona and New Mexico does not take the shortest route from Mexico; these birds fly across Texas before turning to the southwest.

Much of what we know about the mechanisms of orientation and navigation in migratory birds was discovered in experiments involving Indigo Buntings. Using captive birds in a planetarium, John and Steven Emeling manipulated the appearance of the stars to prove that these birds (and apparently many others) orient by tracking the movement of stars surrounding the North Star, rather than by tracking the North Star alone.

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