To attract indigo buntings, many bird lovers have tried all kinds of ways just to keep them coming. These beautifully vibrant birds often catch the eye with their striking colors, making people wonder how to attract indigo buntings into their yards and gardens.

How To Attract Indigo Buntings

How To Attract Indigo Buntings

To attract indigo buntings you would have to put out some mealworms in your garden, provide small seeds for them to eat and always come back. Furthermore, you would want to keep some water available, and even cultivate native fruiting plants, so that they feel safe to return.

– Put Out Some Mealworms

Mealworms are the young larvae of the mealworm beetle. The indigo bunting bird can eat caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders as well. However, mealworms are your best option since they are easily available from many pet stores.

Mealworms can be bought alive, although you will need to make sure that none of them escape from your feeding tray once you put them out. Dehydrated mealworms are a better alternative as they tend to last longer and require little to no maintenance.

The indigo bunting bird prefers to eat small insects, small seeds, and fruits. They have a few favorite foods, such as grasses, grains, flowers, and berries. When available, they will visit bird feeders.

– Provide Small Seeds

Since the indigo bunting bird normally consumes small seeds in the wild, it makes sense to provide the bird with similar seeds in your outdoor spaces.

Indigo Bunting Bird Forage

You can place thistle seeds and white millet seeds in your indigo bunting feeder. Grass seeds are also a preferred food, while occasional feeding of grains, such as barley, oats, and corn, have been reported.

The indigo bunting bird loves to forage. It can be found rummaging on the ground, looking for insects and seeds that make up the majority of its diet. Aside from stocking your feeder, you can also scatter the seeds around bushes where the bird can consume them in relative shelter.

Nonetheless, if you are living in an area that has a lot of other foragers, such as squirrels, you may opt to use bird feeders instead. Look for ones that are designed to deter other animals from snacking on the food meant for attracting birds.

– Keep Water Available

The indigo bunting bird, just like all birds, needs water to drink and bathe. If you happen to have natural sources of water in your outdoor spaces, ensure that the water is clean. You can even place your indigo bunting feeder nearby to place both food and water within easy reach.

If you do not have natural sources of water, you can opt to get a birdbath. Birds are naturally drawn to moving water as the movement indicates freshwater. You can add a small device that simulates fountains or even gurgling streams into your birdbath.

Outdoor ponds are also great ways to add water sources to your outdoor spaces. You can also place a water fountain device, some of which can be powered by solar energy, in your pond. Some water fountain devices even allow you to control the strength of the fountain, from magnificent geysers to a slight gurgle.

– Cultivate Native Fruiting Plants

Fruit-bearing plants are great sources of food for the indigo bunting bird. Native plants are particularly preferable as they do not usually require special maintenance to flourish. Native plants require fewer fertilizers and pesticides, making them highly ideal for attracting native wildlife, such as birds.

Fruit-bearing plants are especially helpful during the fall and early spring as food sources. Insects tend to be scarce during these periods, and the indigo bunting bird relies mainly on fruits for sustenance. 

Knowing that these beautiful creatures live in brushy fields awash with tall weedy plants are the favorite localities of the indigo bunting bird, especially if the fields are along the edges of the woods. In areas with a larger human population, the indigo bunting bird can be found happily trilling around neighborhoods, to find native fruiting plants.

The indigo bunting bird is equally comfortable in clearings within woods with deciduous trees, as well as swamp edges. There are some specific plants that indigo buntings prefer. You will need to check which ones are native to your area. Here is a list of ideal fruit-bearing and seed-bearing plants to attract indigo buntings:

American Holly Black Cherry Pin Cherry Red Mulberry
Blackberry Raspberry Chokeberry Chokecherry
Elderberry Shadbush Snowberry Bayberry
Highbush Cranberry Highbush blueberry Nannyberry Winterberry
Red mulberry Bayberry Wild Blackberry Sunflower

– Be Organic

Since you are using worms, insects, and fruits to attract indigo bunting bids, you should not apply inorganic fertilizers or pesticides in your outdoor spaces. Using chemicals that can harm wildlife can deter them from visiting your outdoor spaces, and this includes the indigo bunting birds.

Insecticides and pesticides eliminate many of the natural food sources of the indigo bunting birds. When these birds cannot find any food sources in your space, they most likely will not come back.

Indigo Buntings on a tree 1

Even more concerning is that any use of toxic chemicals can cause wildlife, including the indigo bunting population, to perish.

Frequently Asked Questions:

– What Does the Indigo Bunting Look Like?

Indigo bunting birds are small, sturdy, and stand around five inches long with a wingspan of eight to nine inches. Indigo bunting birds are normally lone fliers and only tend to flock together during migratory flights.

Sometimes called blue canaries, the indigo bunting bird prefers to call large farmlands, woody brush areas, and open woodlands as their home. The vibrant blue canary bird can often be heard chirping in these habitats as it communicates through various visualizations and vocalizations.

Indigo bunting birds display sexual dimorphism in their coloring. Sexual dimorphism refers to the condition where the sexes of the same species display differing characteristics. Differences may include color, markings, size, weight, and behavioral traits.

The male indigo bunting sports a vibrant cerulean blue during the breeding season in summer. Only the head of the male indigo bunting bird is colored indigo, while the wings and tail are black and edged with a cerulean blue coloration.

During the fall and winter months, the plumage of the indigo bunting bird begins to display brown edges to its blue feathers around the body and head. The feathers overlap each other and make the indigo bunting bird appear brown.

Juvenile male indigo bunting birds are usually similar in color to the female, with only the mature males exhibiting vibrant blue hues. A closer inspection of the young male indigo bunting bird will show that hints of blue are visible on the shoulders and tail.

Female indigo bunting birds are similar in size to adult males. The only difference is their coloring. Female indigo bunting birds have soft brown feathers with a yellow undertone. The female indigo bunting remains this color throughout her life, regardless of the season.

– How Does the Indigo Bunting Reproduce?

Indigo bunting nests are usually built by females. A typical indigo bunting bird couple will nest in a medium or large shrub up to three feet high.

There, the female indigo bunting bird constructs a cup-shaped nest using dried plant material. The nest is woven tightly and secured with gathered spider webs. The inside of the nest of this bird is usually lined with animal fur, soft grasses, and thin roots.

Indigo Bunting Reproduce

The typical indigo bunting couples will have one to three broods each season, with three to four eggs per brood. The female alone takes responsibility for the incubation of these eggs. The eggs are usually three-quarters of an inch long, white, and sparsely spotted with brown dots.

After 12 to 13 days of incubation, the eggs eventually hatch. During this time, the male indigo bunting bird typically feeds the baby birds. Fledgling birds begin to leave the nest 10 to 12 days after hatching.


Attracting homeowners with their brightly colored blue plumage, indigo bunting birds are quickly becoming a desired migratory visitor in many outdoor spaces.

Here are some tips you may want to use to attract indigo buntings:

  • Put out some of their favorite food items, such as mealworms, caterpillars, and insects.
  • Place a bird feeder filled with their favorite tiny seeds. You can scatter some on the ground if you like.
  • Make sure clean water is available to drink and take baths in.
  • Grow native fruit-bearing plants that the indigo buntings love to eat.
  • Forego the use of toxic chemicals in your outdoor spaces.

Capturing their audiences with sharp melodious trills, these birds bring delight and joy to many. Apply these techniques and watch them come to your gardens soon.

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