Western Tanager

Scientific Name: Piranga lodoviciana

Habitat: Western Tanagers range in much of western north America. They can be found in conifer or mixed forests, but during migration Western Tanagers can be found many other places as well including suburban yards, orchards, grasslands, and shrub steppe.

Diet: Western Tanagers eat mostly insects, but during the winter they eat many fruits and berries. Western Tanagers will come to fruit feeders for orange halves and other fruit.

Nesting: Western Tanagers nest from May to June. The nest is an open cup made of bark strips, twigs, grasses, and rootlets. It is lined with hair and grass. Western Tanagers place their nest in the upper branches far out from the trunk of the tree. One to five bluish green eggs are laid, and incubated by the female for about thirteen days.

Description/field marks: Western Tanagers are very colorful birds. The males have bright red heads, yellow undersides, and black wings. On the wings there is a on streak of yellow, and a few spots of white. Females are less bright, but are still beautiful birds. On the back and wings the females are a yellowish green, and the underside and head are greenish yellow. On both the male and female the bill is a pinkish-grayish color, and the eyes are black.

How to attract: If you want to attract a Western Tanager try a couple things, and soon you might just see one in your own backyard. Western Tanagers are attracted to running water so one thing to do is buy, or build, a bird bath. This can attract a lot of birds other than Western Tanagers as well, so it can’t hurt anything. Another way to attract Western Tanagers is by putting out fruit. Western Tanagers will eat orange halves, and other dried fruit as well. You can skewer orange halves on the branches of trees, or just put them on a platform feeder with other fruit.

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