Bird was first found by Mary Long and then seen by me, Mary Rumple. Mary Long prefers to not be contacted but you are welcome to contact me if needed.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Birds was seen in Mountain Home, ID at a private residence near Mountain Home AFB.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Backyard observation. Bird visted her jelly feeder. There are a lot of trees and a pond in her backyard as well.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Mary Long first saw the bird on 5-18-17 and called me. I came over on 5-19-17 to confirm sighting and I was there for just under two hours. The bird came into view 4-5 times during that time frame. We were inside the house looking out the window and the jelly feeder and tree it is in are only about 15 feet from the window. It was sunny but filtered by the trees and the wind was blocked as well. Very easy viewing. I used my Vortex binoculars a few times but bird was so close they were not needed. I also took pictures with my Nikon P900 Camera.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Mary Long first used Stokes Birding guide and I used Sibley and iBird Pro.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Cardinals, Piranga, Tanagers and Allies (Cardinalidea)
We observed a large tanager, Mary Long knew it was a tanager right away but unsure was to which kind until we referenced the guides. It had a long, heavy blunt-tipped bill and a large looking head. Bird was a orangish yellow color overall. At closer observation it appeared to be yellowish with red patchy areas creating the orange overall look. Bird had a pale bill and very dark eye with an eye ring.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
In my time observing the bird it came to her jelly feeder and ate 4-5 times. The trees are dense so I didn't really get to observe fight patterns. It was often chased off the feeder by the Bullock's Orioles but chased back a few times. The Black-headed Grosbeaks staging in the same tree would also chase it off. When I first arrived I heard a vocalization I have never heard before so I went in the house and listed to the song for the Summer Tanager on my iPhone and it was a match.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Mary Long and I arrived at Summer Tanager pretty quickly because at first glance she tired to make it into a female Western Tanager but quickly realized the coloring was wrong and the bill was much heavier and the body shape a bit different. All of these field marks were well described in Stokes. To be sure we posted to Idaho Bird Sightings and Discussion and Carl Lundbad confirmed the identity for us.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
We eliminated the Western Tanager because of the lack of distinctive wing bars, coloration differences and the heavy bill the bird had.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
We have both only ever seen Western Tanagers so we are not at all familiar with the Summer Tanager nor any others in that family.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Mary Long has been birding for about 2 years and I have been birding for about 5. I would rate myself as a intermediate birder.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description and photos support identification of Summer Tanager.
Well documented with photos, description, and eliminating the similar Western Tanager female
Photos are good.
This was a Summer Tanager.
Decent descriptions and diagnostic photos of a first year male Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra).
Documentation includes diagnostic photos and useful written details.