• Summer Tanager

    Common NameSummer Tanager
    Scientific NamePiranga rubra
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation04/22/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameKim Likakis
    Mailing Address573 Walloomsac Rd
    Bennington, VT 05201
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed04/24/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    John Likakis;

    Latitude of Observation42.8850553
    Longitude of Observation-73.2234556
    Place NameWalloomsac
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day10:35 AM
    Length of Time ObservedInitially for 20 minutes, then frequently throughout the day
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)55 ft
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)4 ft
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions


    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Swarovski EL 8.5 X 42

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    Several lifetime sightings of SUTA including:
    5/17/2006: Konza Biological Station, Flint Hills, Manhattan, Kansas; 6 individuals, sighted and singing
    4/5/2015: Babcock-Webb WMA, Charlotte County, Punta Gorda, Florida: one male roadside
    -- plus other sightings that went unrecorded

    Similar species: Scarlet Tanager (very familiar); Hepatic Tanager (unfamiliar)

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Rural residential, mixed deciduous with White Pine, Eastern Hemlock with forest edge, lawn and meadow elev 880', no water; bird did not associate with any other species but other species present included MODO, RBWO, YBSA,DOWO, HAWO, NOFL, EAPH, BLJA, BCCH, TUTI, WBNU, RCKI, CHSP, DEJU, WTSP, SOSP NOCA, HOFI, PUFI and AMGO

    Behaviors Observed

    Bird spent its time alternating between resting in a nearby tree and attempting to land on and eat suet; when resting it did not preen, rather it appeared to calmly look about, alert, feathers looked good; flew with alacrity and energy when departed or crossed area; eyes, bill, legs and feet looked good; no interactions with other species; bird seemed very tame, so much so that I doubled-checked it for a band or anything else, would not depart very proximate perch when humans passed by, nonplussed by human activity.

    Description of Vocalizations

    None noted.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    I observed what I am certain was an all-red tanager resting in a small crabapple close to my house, occasionally hopping from branch to branch in that tree, flying close to my house to flutter close to or actually land on a suet cage to obtain set, then returning to tree to eat what it had gleaned if it only been successful in fluttering. It would then feak, look around and try again, or seemingly rest contentedly in the tree for a few minutes before trying again.

    When the bird was successful in landing on the suet, it was not concerned about proximity to house but rather ate in a leisurely way the suet from the feeder, attentive to its surroundings when on the feeder.

    He would fly on several occasions across the yard to land in hemlocks and perch there - always unhurried in its perching, branch-exchange behavior. When flying he would fly purposefully, straightline and with energy, uninhibited. When I exited the house at 6am the following morning to rehang feeders (we have real bear problems), the bird saw me from the hemlocks across the yard and actually flew toward me to land in the crabapple he used for suet staging.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Size very hard to judge in the field in my opinion; larger than a vireo, somewhat larger than Scarlet Tanager; when not puffed up against the cold the bird was smooth and streamlined, tapering fore and aft, not dumpy.


    No evident crest; eye dark, crown, cheeks, throat, nape uniform unmarked, red.

    Feet & Bill

    Feet, legs dark, proportioned to body; bill quite heavy relative to head size, long, uniformly lightly colored, almost bone colored.

    Upper Back

    Unmarked, red.

    Lower Back & Rump

    Unmarked, appeared uniformly red.


    Wing shape what I would call passerine-normal, not overly long relative to tail; unmarked, somewhat duskier, greyer, red hues muted relative to body color.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    Unmarked, red.


    Unmarked, relative uniform in length in flight, notched when perched.

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    There are in my opinion no similar wild species in N.A. with the possible exception of Hepatic Tanager, which is quite a bit duskier with a very dark bill, totally unlike SUTA, and would be an extreme vagrant if sighted.

    Other Notes & Comments

    Bird was male, adult in color; no hint of crest ever sighted despite bird's activity.

    ** Bird was seen extensively throughout the days of 4/22 and 4/23, 2017.

    This report was written from notes taken:During the Observation

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