Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Birdblogging

Today is flashy Western Tanager, this is the male - I first saw one unexpectedly, at Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park, and was really excited. They are occasionally also seen near here, at Lake Texoma, but I've only thought I saw one once.

Here, from your friendly neighborhood birders at Cornell, are the Cool Facts:
The Western Tanager breeds farther north than any other member of its mostly tropical family, breeding to nearly 60° N in the Northwest Territories.

The red pigment in the face of the Western Tanager is rhodoxanthin, a pigment rare in birds. It is not manufactured by the bird, as are the pigments used by the other red tanagers. Instead, it must be acquired from the diet, presumably from insects that themselves acquire the pigment from plants.

All those holly berries go to a good cause.



Anonymous Tena said...

O Ruth - we had those all over the place in the mountains in Colorado. I had two on my deck before I moved this summer. Gorgeous birds.

I actually have a pair of Turtle Doves hanging around here in Taos. I'd never seen one before. They were brought to this country in cages, but some escaped and started forming colonies in California and are slowly moving east, my Sibley's tells me.

8:12 AM  
Blogger FeralLiberal said...

Lovely, Ruth, I've never seen one in person. I occasionally get scarlet tanagers moving through during migration, but they never stick around.

9:23 AM  

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