Documentation of Summer Tanager

Observer Information

Reporter:  Marcel Such   
Other Observers:  Nick Moore, Ali Iyoob, Matt Daw, Joel Such, David Such, Renee Haip; We were the original finders

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Summer Tanager
First Date/Time:  5/23/2011
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  10 minutes
County:  Jefferson
Specific Location:  Random pull-off of Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon (Lat 39.736215, Long -105.386840)
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Male
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Perched in Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) over clear mountain creek. Habitat surrounding was Juniper (Juniperus sp.) shrubland.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Alpen 8x42 binoculars, Canon 40D with 400mm fixed lens.
Distance:  20' Estimated.
Light:  Good, clear light, though bird partially obscured by branches/leaves at some times.

Description of the Bird

Mid-sized. Bill pale yellowish and shortish, thick and stout in structure. Overall rose-red with dingy yellow highlights. Wings yellow-green with dark gray centers of feathers. Eye dark.
Behaviors: Sat in tree calling repeatedly. After a few minutes it flew down canyon.
Call: Call a coarse "biduk", given every few seconds. No other calls given.
Plumage: immature

Similar Species Discussion

Structure and size and red coloring leaves us with just Hepatic Tanager, Summer Tanager, and Scarlet Tanager (lack of wing bars eliminates Western Tanager).

The dark bill gray highlights, and call of Hepatic Tanager eliminate it from consideration.

The dark wings and bill and the call of Scarlet Tanager eliminate it from consideration.

Resources Used

Sibley Guide to Birds

Previous Experience

Joel, Marcel, and Nick have lots of experience with Western Tanager, and some experience with Summer and Scarlet Tanagers. Ali and Matt have lots of experience with Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, and some with Western Tanager. No experience with Hepatic Tanager.


Notes made DURING observation

Additional Information

Comments: Code B species (The Code B area is Colorado west of the Front Range 6000-foot elevation contour.).
Time: 1730 (5:30 PM)
Elevation: 6825'
Other Dates: None that we know of.
Nearest Town: Golden
Independent Observers: We were the original finders

Materials Available

Photographer: Marcel Such

Photos |


Date Documentation Submitted

9/7/2012 11:56:00 AM
Click left or right edges of photos to move through all; click outside image to close