Posts Tagged ‘Western Tanager’

Farewell Tanagers

May 24, 2010

The Western Tanagers are departing – we think. Thirty pounds of grape jelly served, countless photos made, and hours of joyous observing are benind us. Now we can get back to work and to blogging about other bird-related matters. We leave you with two great photos made by our friend Page Morgan-Draper and used with her permission.

Do Quail Eat Grape Jelly Too?

Transfixed by Tanagers

May 18, 2010

Transfixed by the Western Tanagers and heading into serious sleep deprivation, we’ve been unable to accomplish anything for the last several days because we’re so busy feeding them. We’re up to twenty pounds of grape jelly served and still they come.

But we’re not so tired that science takes a backseat to our pure joy of having all these guests. No sir. We continue in the service of science, remembering Richard Feynman’s injunction, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Science can only advance if scientists maintain a healthy skepticism and always are open to new data. Sometimes, especially in the case of lesser scientists, the data disprove a treasured hypothesis.

But for great scientists, awaiting their Nobel Prize, data often confirm their hypotheses.

You’ll remember our scientific announcement from last week, made after discovering both Bullocks Orioles and Western Tanagers love grape jelly. We announced:

Orange birds love purple food.

Now, we have new data accompanied by more photographic evidence

That is a Black-headed Grosbeak – with its orange breast – eating grape jelly! Further proof of our discovery that orange birds love purple food.

Please don’t call. We don’t want the Nobel people to get a busy signal. If the tanagers don’t leave soon, we’ll need the prize money to buy grape jelly.


For more Western Tanager photos go to Photofeathers, a friend’s new and good photo blog about her birding adventures. We’ve added the blog to our link list on the right. When you visit scroll down to see many more photos and don’t miss Love Among the Quarai Ruins. (Adults Only.)

Great Scientific Discovery!

May 9, 2010

Western Tanager Watching Female Bullock's Oriole

In our times, it is not often that a lay person gets to add to the total sum of scientific knowledge. Once a “Renaissance” man might hope to do so, but those days are gone; now science advances mainly through the hard, painstaking work of real scientists, published in peer-reviewed journals. This is as true of ornithology as of any other science, although lay people do still help out with Christmas bird counts, ecological vacations, and simple observations.

So it is an exciting day when we here at the Fat Finch make a scientific discovery.

Western Tanager at the Grape Jelly

Normally, of course, we would follow the scientific method and submit our discovery to a peer-reviewed journal.  But, we’d rather share it first with you, our faithful readers. And, because we have photographic evidence to prove our discovery, we see no reason to wait to announce our discovery to the world. Here is a photo of a Western Tanager eating grape jelly. Taken yesterday, it shows a Western Tanager dipping into some grape jelly. We’ve seen both the male and the female eating the grape jelly.  (That is a White-winged Dove observing. As we’ve noted before, White-winged Doves spend their days trying to evolve. I suppose that is another of our discoveries. I don’t recall ever reading anything in a peer-reviewed journal demonstrating that some species actually attempt conscious evolution, but White-winged Doves do. This one is attempting to learn how to eat grape jelly.)

So here is our Scientific Discovery:

Orange birds love purple food.

We await the call from the Nobel Committee.

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