Birds & Blooms

The painted bunting


holds the No. 1 spot on my bird bucket list. I’ve seen hundreds of photos of this rainbow-colored beauty, yet I remain in disbelief that such a stunning bird actually exists. And I recently learned that I’m not alone in yearning to spot one. We asked our field editors and Facebook followers to tell us which birds they want to see most. The answers included northern cardinals, black-billed magpies and Cape May warblers, but the painted bunting prevailed. Leticia Reed even said, “Spotting a male painted bunting would be a dream come true for me!” Flip to page 40 to see our top 10 list and find out where to spot them.

Also in this issue, we reveal the finalists in our annual Backyard Photo Contest. Since the beginning of July, we’ve looked at thousands of bird, bloom and butterfly photos, and somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down to 12. Go to page 53 to see the spectacula­r snapshots and find out how you can help us crown a winner!

Whether you’re submitting contest entries or votes, commenting on our Facebook posts, or using our Instagram hashtag (#birdsandbl­ooms), we love hearing from you. I’m curious—is your bucket list bird missing from our list? Go to birdsandbl­ to tell us which species would make your birding dreams come true.

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