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Jun 1, 2015

Western Tanager far from home in Toronto

Photo by Tom Cheatham
(Pirangra ludoviciana)
My daughter Allison called to tell me that she had spotted a bird she had never seen before.   She was with her husband Rob, and his parents, and they were puzzled and surprised to see the colourful creature.   Allison immediately whipped out her Apple IPhone, entered the colours red and yellow and the size of the bird and her location in city of Toronto, and quickly had the bird identified as a Western Tanager.   It was a mere 2,700 kilometres east of where it should normally be!   The Western Tanager normally hangs out in western Canada or the US.   It usually gets no further east than central Saskatchewan, eastern Montana or eastern Wyoming, etc.   The Western Tanager does occasionally turn up at feeders in the east, much to the amazement and/or delight of keen birders as well as the uninitiated.   The majority of regional birders in Eastern Canada have never seen this bird and that includes me.   I have 425 birds on my own life list, but no Western Tanager.   Allison is not a birder and has no life list as far as I know.   Maybe she will become a bona fide birder at some point.   Western Tanager: what a bird to start an eastern life list with.....sheesh!
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