New birds spotted in Beaufort County

Published 8:15 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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Two very exciting and beautiful birds were sighted this week, both of which would be new records for Beaufort County.

A male Painted Bunting has been visiting a seed feeder in the Smallwood neighborhood on the north side of Washington. The resident who spotted the bird prefers their privacy. However, the Painted Bunting is probably visiting multiple seed feeders in the neighborhood.  If you live there, keep an eye out for this parrot-colored bird the size of a small sparrow.

Painted all over with brilliant red, green, and cobalt blue, if you see it, you will at first imagine that a pet parakeet must have escaped.

In fact, it is a well-known coastal bird, often seen at North Carolina’s southeastern islands, where it inhabits maritime forest and waxy, shrubby vegetation at the back side of the barrier banks.

Every so often one ends up for unknown reasons further inland, where it may be seen at a seed feeder.  I have not seen a female present, but if there is one, it would be mostly olive green.

A second striking and rare bird was seen this week at Crisp Landing on Blounts Creek. Soaring high in the air was a beautiful black and white Swallow-tailed Kite. This graceful bird sometimes appears in North Carolina and has been seen in many coastal counties, although no previous reports from Beaufort County are known. The scissor-shaped tail is unmistakable as is the black and white pattern, and its deliberate, elegant soaring style.


Betsy Kane is a Washington resident who enjoys the outdoors.