Monday, May 17, 2021

Western Tanager

On 14 May 2021, Erika and I hiked up a Kennedy Flats logging trail in Mason County, a few miles west of Olympia. We found this gorgeous Western Tanager, a new bird for our year list. The location is exactly the same where we have previously found this species, so we assume it breeds at that spot. As its name suggests, Western Tanagers are found across much of western North America. They winter from central Mexico through most of Central America. This tanager has been assumed to be closely related to the Scarlet Tanager of eastern North America. Recent genetic reseach, however, indicates that Western Tanagers are most closely related to Flame-colored Tanagers of Mexico and Hepatic Tanagers from the American Southwest and Central and South America (Hudon 2020).

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