Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surprise Visitor: Western Tanager

As I peered out my front window Wednesday morning, all bleary-eyed and not yet awake, I was surprised to see an overly large goldfinch. Since my brain wasn't fully awake yet, this is the conversation that I had with myself:

"That's not a goldfinch, too big... female oriole? Huh, what's wrong with it's head? No, not an oriole... Good grief, did someone's parakeet escape? What the heck? Oh my gosh: It's a Western Tanager."

Long silent pause as I soaked in the joy of seeing one of these birds. IN MY YARD.

Springing things like this on me first thing in the morning before my synapses are all firing isn't the best idea, but let me tell you. It sure woke me up!

I'd left my camera in the car overnight and all I had was the truly crappy camera on my Droid (why, oh why, can't we get good cameras on Droids?). So I snapped a few pictures just for documentation while I quietly swore to myself to never, ever leave the camera in the car again.

Thankfully, the bird hung around and I was able to scamper to the car, get my camera and snap photos of it before I left for work:

And no. We don't have Western Tanagers in Minnesota. Although we do get enough of them through periodically - especially in the spring - that they're an infrequent visitor. The only other sighting of a W. Tanager in my county was in 1984 in Stillwater, Minn. Pretty exciting!


  1. Lucky you, a beautiful visitor! Wow, and what a beautiful shot! I love this colorful bird.

  2. Beautiful photograph, Tami! It would be so nice if I could see a Western Tanager one day!

  3. I didn't know it was colorful; great framing too!

  4. Gorgeous bird! I would be ECSTATIC! So glad you were able to get photos. (an awesome one, at that!)

  5. Wow. You got a great shot! I know what it's like to see something special and want to capture it, but not have the camera. I'm glad it stuck around for you and that you were able to share it.

  6. Hi - Spotted one in Vandais two days ago. See pic on
    Capture Minnesota