My mother's day walk resulted in three sightings of male Summer Tanagers. They stand out likebrilliant red Christmas tree ornaments in the green leafing cottonwood trees. They were in trees overhanging seeps in the bosque. These normally are dry but with the high level of water in the river they have standing water for the first time in years. This area is off Poco Loco, South of Rio Bravo on the East side of the river. There is a nice trail created and maintained by summer youth. Today downtown outside my office building a Western Tanager showed up to work the branches of a Ponderosa. Bosque Bill are the Tanagers early, late,or right on time based on your records?

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David -

I checked eBird and also checked in with a couple of my bird experts, including Chris Witt over at UNM, because I was thinking about doing a "so many tanagers!" newspaper story.

Witt said they're right on time, and eBird tanager reports for both species peak the second week of May in Bernalillo County. But I'm still entertaining the possibility that there are a lot more this year, simply because everyone's talking about them.
As jfleck said, they are on schedule. I saw my first Summer on April 28th and Western two days later. I've heard reports that there were more Westerns this year. One friend had 4 fighting over the fruit in her Los Ranchos backyard a couple days ago. I saw two in my neighborhood today and a couple in the bosque during just a short bike ride.

The Summers will stick around all season, as you probably know, but most of the Westerns will move farther north or to higher elevations.
I've officially declared that there are more Western Tanagers than usual this year, since there were three in one tree in my backyard for 15 minutes just about an hour ago. I've never gotten more than one and briefly in years past. Here is one of them from today:

Spectacular Bill and thanks J. Fleck for the eBird referral. BosqueB I'm sure that this is the same Tanager I saw downtown this morning. It looks just like him. dd
My wife said she saw some crazy yellow breasted bird earlier in the back yard (Silver and Harvard area) and we thought maybe it was an Oriole, but after seeing this, I'm guessing it had to be a Tanager. Great post!
Some areas around do have orioles, but they are usually much more orange in color. Female tanagers, both Summer and Western are a darker yellow and have no red face.
I went out for a walk this morning, heading west to what I think is called the Country Club area. Lots of flowers, lawns and big trees. I saw a lot of goldfinch at last! Got a lot of good pictures. But it wasn't until I was quite near home again that I saw a Western Tanager, here near 6th and Lead. I was hugely surprised and very happy -- if only they -- for there seem to be two! -- would slow down and pose sweetly. :) Now the King Birds have competition for the bugs. I found a site (googled Western Tanager) that had the call of a WT and it certainly sounds like a bird I hear in the early morning (i.e., 4am or so) which I had thought was a robin. In daylight, the WT I was trying to take a picture of had a different, bizarre call I can't imitate but will listen for it. I'd like to put out food for the WTs to welcome them. Any suggestions? I put out a standard feeder which is mobbed by likeable house finches and their fuzzy-headed babies. Maybe goldfinches will move a bit east and find that, too. This seems to be a very birdy year for me :) Oh-oh! I also saw a woodpecker I'm trying to identify. I got good pictures. Checkerboard brown and cream, no red, larger than a robin, dark brown head. Maybe a female. And Monday (5/10) I saw two roadrunners at 9th and Silver. One jogged toward me and got his picture taken, then they both headed west hunting. Downtown - birder paradise!
There are an unprecedented number of Western Tanagers pausing, I assume, longer than usual during their migration. This is the fourth day I've had several and at one point 6 males and 2 females.

I've put out orange halves and grape jelly. The Westerns love it! This is the same meal one would prepare for orioles, too. Here is an orange with a dollop of jelly inside.

I am going to try this method, Bill. Cool!!
I'll add a downtown male Western Tanager to the sightings list...

So nice to see these colorful birds around town.


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