Painted Redstart in Ocean Springs, Mississippi!

2012 January 20
by David J. Ringer

On Jan. 5, Nancy Madden found a Painted Redstart just east of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on the Jackson County Christmas Bird Count. The bird has been seen every day since. I was in Mississippi today for an event at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, and what was I going to do, just drive right past the bird without stopping? Ha.


The famous and spectacular Belle Fontaine Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus), Mississippi’s second record! The only other record for the state is a sight record from Oct. 5, 1987, by Judy Toups and several others.



The bird is spending most of its time in a couple of live oaks within sight of the Gulf of Mexico. (I wonder how many other eBird checklists include both Painted Redstart and Brown Pelican?)



It turns out that the redstart is sticking close to one particular tree because a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is maintaining a series of sap wells in some of the limbs (note small holes visible here). The redstart is feeding from the wells.


It is also catching insects frequently (this fly, for example). Perhaps the sap wells are attracting more insects? In any case, it seems to be a pretty good deal for the redstart.


The bird’s genus name, Myioborus, means fly-devourer.



Marsha Kazal, who led us to the bird today, points up to the redstart tree. I wondered how many other Painted Redstarts in history had been seen by observers in heels — not the usual attire for reaching their montane homes!


My buddy Moz was entertained by my multitasking. Photo © Mozart Mark Dedeaux



Related posts:

  1. Y-c Night Herons and Painted Buntings
  2. I’ll take a Mississippi Kite to go….
  3. Overwintering neotrops and other goodies on Grand Isle
  4. Touring the Mississippi River delta
  5. Birds of Tropical Storm Lee, Part 1
9 Responses
  1. January 21, 2012

    Very nice work and set of observations. To me this is an excellent set of quality rendered images, well edited with a slice of biology and social commentary. The heels shot say’s a lot. I know that the branches at this location are a work around.

    Kudos. I shot a little video that you might like to see on youtube title Mississippi Painted Redstart.

    Keep up the good work.


    Jonathan Gottsche

  2. January 22, 2012

    Great Work and beautiful post. Loved looking at it… what a beautiful bird and such a great one to have on your list.

    Thanks for twittering about it. :)

  3. January 22, 2012

    Beautiful images of a fantastic state bird!

  4. January 23, 2012

    I was drawn in by the title of your blog, and I will continue to visit because your photos are beautiful! I have a fledgling bird blog of my own: Stop by sometime!



  5. Lisa Berger permalink
    January 28, 2012

    Awesome Redstart. Awesome S&S. Awesome David.

    • Kathy Ringer permalink
      January 29, 2012

      Awesome observations, Lisa! :)

  6. February 23, 2012

    That’s a beauty. Excellent series of photos, too. Nice find! And a well-dressed birder ;)

  7. July 3, 2012

    Nice find! What a beautiful creature it is!

  8. Alan Kaplan permalink
    February 6, 2014

    Hi, David!

    Since November 14, 2013, there has been a Painted Redstart in Berkeley, CA, a first for Alameda County, CA, which hung around for our Oakland Christmas Bird Count. Yay!

    Today is February 5, 2014 and I do not know for sure that the bird is still around.

    The original finder has produced greeting cards of her illustrations of the birds, available from Golden Gate Audubon Society in Berkeley, CA.

    Best regards and Firm Handshake!

Comments are closed.