Posts Tagged ‘western tanager’

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly, Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’ Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land. Man got to tell himself he understand.” – Kurt Vonnegut, “Cat’s Cradle


Western tanager -- Wikipedia photo

Western tanager — Wikipedia photo


I Think I saw a Pretty Bird

            I spent most of my life totally unaware of the birds that live around us. Then I caught the bird-watching virus.

Sage Grouse: The bird that addicted me to bird watching. -- Wikipedia photo

Sage Grouse: The bird that addicted me to bird watching. — Wikipedia photo

It happened in 1999 when I was doing a newspaper story on sage grouse at Deseret Ranch in Utah. It required me to wake at an ungodly hour — even for me an early riser — and then hike a mile or so across the landscape to a sit behind a blind so I could watch male grouse show off for the gals at a lek.

“It is sort of like when the guys drag Main Street on Saturday night,” birding guide Mark Stackhouse told me.

I found the strutting, puffed out males, an awesome sight – and laughed at how most of the girls ignored the boys. From that day forward I was hooked, and these days my binoculars are usually close by.

So it was this afternoon, as I sat at tree-top level on the balcony of my third-floor apartment talking on the phone to my daughter-in-law in Texas, when a bright colored bird flew in and sat on a branch not too far away.

“OHhhhhh. A pretty bird,” I screeched into my daughter-in-law’s ear, and grabbed for by binoculars..

It was a western tanager, the first I’ve seen here at my Catalina foothills apartment. I usually see them in a more forested setting, but there are a lot of trees here, and a fountain in one of the courtyards where the birds can drink.

It’s a beautiful bird, don’t you agree?

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Cantankerous Puffs of Adorable http://tinyurl.com/l7sphvv Juvenile green herons

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Western tanager -- Wikipedia photo

Looking for birds -- Photo by Pat Bean

“The tender friendships one gives up, on parting, leave their bite on the heart, but also a curious feeling of a treasure somewhere buried.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I return to Ogden, the delight of my Wednesday mornings is to go on the weekly come-rain-come-shine-come heat-come-cold bird walk sponsored by the Wasatch Audubon Chapter and herded along by the always-eager-to-see-the-next-bird Mort Somer. It was this group of birders that mentored me when I couldn’t tell a duck from a goose or a sparrow from a woodpecker.

California quail -- Photo by Pat Bean

 I’ve never met another Audubon group — and I’ve birded with many in my travels – so generous with their knowledge and whose members are so delightful to walk beside. It’s a diversified group so along with learning about birds, I also learn the names of new wildflowers and trees and lots of other nature trivia.

 Willard Bay State Park north of Ogden was where we headed for yesterday’s outing. We found the birds waiting for us. The first bird I saw on getting out of our vehicle was a western tanager, a stand-out red, orange-yellow and black bird that tends to stay hidden among the leaves.

By the time we left the park, I had seen more of these delightful birds, including a quick coupling between one of the bright males and a paler female, than I had on previous bird outings put together. I never thought I would hear myself say: “Oh, it just another tanager.” But that’s what all of us were saying after an hour of birding, even though we saw 47 different species of birds.

 The sweetness of each bird sighting was almost as delectable as birding once again with my Wasatch Audubon friends. But not quite.

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