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Attract Indigo Buntings & Scarlet Tanagers

WantedSignTips for Thrill Seekers

Indigo Buntings and Scarlet Tanagers are in Minnesota, but many backyard sightings of these gorgeous birds occur during migration while they’re en route to their nesting habitats. If you’d like to tip the scales in your favor to host one or both of these gem-like birds in your yard, here are some tips:

For both species: spend time by the window!

A lot of sightings are “blink and you miss it” by nature, so plan some time to spend by the window with your camera in early May (bonus: you may also glimpse other neo-tropical migrants passing through, like orioles, hummingbirds and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!)

For Scarlet Tanagers:

  • Serve any or all of the following: suet, mealworms, grape jelly or oranges
  • Follow the song (like a robin with a sore throat) and see if you can find them in the canopy. They don’t move around much when singing.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. You may have more success spotting one after a storm.

 For Indigo Buntings:

  • Serve any or all of the following: millet, Nyjer®, or Joe’s Mix in tube feeders with or without trays, hopper or fly-through feeders.
  • Also try: a mix like Berry Nutty, since fruit is part of their natural diet.
  • Consider scattering some millet below feeders. Indigo Buntings are often spotted eating from the ground.