Science Art: Painted Bunting, by John James Audubon, 1841

These are painted buntings, “1.2.3. males in different states of plumage and 4. female” in the branches of a chickasaw wild plum, as displayed in The birds of America : from drawings made in the United States and their territories, an Audubon book from the middle of the 19th century.

You can find painted buntings in the Caribbean, too, but the book says of Spiza ciris: “About the middle of April, the orange groves of the lower part of Louisiana, and more especially those in the immediate vicinity of the City of New Orleans, are abundantly supplied with this beautiful little Finch.” I like the idea of there being a supply of painted buntings, abundant buntings, a flowing wellspring of little colored birds. Buntings on tap, ultimately, I’m sure, with a central bunting processing facility as part of the burgeoning natural resources made available in these United States.