Bird Beauties of the Ranch

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As a rule, I dislike beauty contests.  In humans they tend to focus primarily on physical attributes and objectify the contestants.  In reality, the majority of humans are equivalent in beauty to what we classify in the bird world as L.B.J.'s ("Little Brown Jobs").  When it comes to birds, however, I admit to having no qualms about making judgments concerning the relative beauty of different species.  In the bird world, the male of the species is typically (but not always) flashier and prettier than the female. So in considering the bird beauties of the Yampavian Ranch, I will focus on the males, making this a kind of "Mr. Universe," rather than a "Miss America" contest. 

Mountain Bluebird.jpg
In my bird beauty contest, third runner-up goes to the Mountain Bluebird, a breathtaking, brilliant, sky-blue bird who has migrated through, but never nested on the ranch, despite the ten bluebird boxes we have scattered around the property.

Second runner-up goes to the Bullock's Oriole, the orange, black, and white bird who is a regular at my nectar feeders in the spring and summer and whom I have discussed in one of my previous blog entries.
Oriole (beauty).jpg

First runner-up goes to the Lazuli Bunting, another strikingly beautiful "blue" bird with deep blue feathers covering his head and back, a red--orange chest, and a snow white belly.  He shows up occasionally at my feeder in the spring and can be found regularly throughout the summer foraging for insects in the cottonwood trees along the river.
Lazuli Bunting at feeder.jpg

AND THE WINNER IS...................................
              WESTERN TANAGER!!!!

Western Tanager 1.jpg

With his brilliant red head, his bright yellow body, and his black wings, tail, and back, this bird looks as if he has been painted by a wildlife artists.  A relative of the Cardinal, he winters in the tropics and breeds as far north as Alaska.  He shows up on the ranch in late May and is attracted to my water feature and to the fruit that I set out for the orioles.  Last Thursday, a "season" of Western Tanagers (a group of tanagers is called a "season") appeared in my back yard and drank and bathed while I watched in awe.
Tanager 2.jpg

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nancy published on May 31, 2009 2:31 PM.

Waxing Eloquent Over Waxwings was the previous entry in this blog.

Nest Boxes and Their Occupants is the next entry in this blog.

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