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The males have the familiar coloration (blue head, bright red underparts, and bright green on the wings and back). Females and juveniles are a green color, however the juveniles on average tend to be a more drab brown/green while the females are brighter green. Young males will remain green until the fall of their second year, when they finally molt in their bright colors.
Miller Springs Park is a 360-acre park located below Belton Lake, on the Leon River, in Bell County, Texas. It contains diverse riparian terrain, including limestone bluffs, estuarial wetlands, mountain cedar hilltops, and riverside cottonwood stands. Numerous trails traverse prairie-like open spaces and forests of native cedar elm, live oak, and red oaks. Recent floods have created a new canyon that reveals numerous layers of sedimentary rock and fossils. Area wildlife includes white-tail deer, red foxes, coyotes, black squirrels, armadillos, and about 200 species of birds in the course of the year.
I spotted the first bird as just a dark silhouette. Then it flew to the branch and a second joined it, then a third. It wasn't until I took a close look at the photos and saw the colors on the third bird that I realized they were painted buntings.