My Favorite Tanager
I've seen a lot of tanager species in my years of bird watching. Both summer and scarlet tanagers nest on our 80-acre farm in southeast Ohio every summer—more scarlets by far. Tanagers come in a wide variety of color schemes, often involving bright red, yellow, or orange. Yet my favorite tanager is one that comes in subtle hues: the blue-gray tanager.
I can't tell you why I like the blue-gray tanager best of all. Maybe it's because, like mountain bluebirds, they make the most of a rather plain uniform. Or perhaps it's because they are common and easy to see throughout much of the New World tropics—from central Mexico to the northern half of South America. I've enjoyed them in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and Peru.
Bay-headed tanagers are fabulously beautiful. I got to see them in Panama a few weeks ago, along with crimson-backed, silver-throated, and golden-hooded tanagers—all stunning birds.
I don't know. There's just something about a blue-gray tanager.
During my recent trip to Panama, while staying at a nice hotel in Cerro Azul called Hostal Casa de Campo, there were blue-gray tanagers visiting the fruit feeder just outside the dining room. Due to our schedule and the weather we only had about 15 minutes with the birds, but I managed to capture a few worthwhile images in between bites of lunch.