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Friday, August 2, 2013

Western Tanager

Piranga ludoviciana

Male Western Tanager perched in a spruce tree
(note reddish wash on head)

In the breeding season the male's head is a vivid red, but he will lose this red colouring later on as winter approaches.

The Western Tanager is the only species of tanager that breeds in British Columbia.  Their breeding range extends almost to 60° North in the Northwest Territories.  This is the first Western Tanager I've seen all summer.

I heard him singing in a tree close to the open patio door.  Other than the bees, butterflies and occasional hummingbird, nothing moved in the sweltering heat of a slow afternoon.  He didn't move either, just sat in a bit of shade and sang the same song over and over, for what seemed a very long time.