Western Tanager

A Hard Won Yard Bird by Walter Kitundu

20110906-084208.jpgStill no internet but this deserves a cell phone post. I woke up to find this beautiful strange bird immobile on the deck and panting hard. It was a window strike. I didn't know what kind of bird it was, just that it was much bigger than the siskins and goldfinches that frequent my feeders.

20110906-084941.jpg I couldn't bring myself to euthanize it and the Scrub Jays were hanging out like little blue vultures so I gathered it up and put it in a small bird cage. I provided some water and set the bird on my kitchen table where it would be warm and peaceful. I didn't hold out much hope. My friends helped me ID it as a juvenile male Western Tanager, a first for my yard. I was thinking about it all day.

20110906-085102.jpg When I got home later that day I was shocked and delighted to see the Tanager comfortably sitting up on a perch like a pet bird. It had recovered and taken some water and food, and deposited some berry-laden droppings in the cage. As the sun threatened to set I walked the bird outside and released it from my deck. It exploded from my hand with strength I never imagined would return to the panting, shocked bird I had held earlier in the day. I am so happy he survived.

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