#ABArare - Hepatic Tanager - Saskatchewan
by Nate Swick
On November 2, a red tanager was first noticed to be visiting a feeder at the home of Faye and John Sundholm near Wadena, Saskatchewan. The Sundholms, realizing that this was something very different, obtained small-file photos and distributed them out to local experts who initially identified the bird as a Summer Tanager, also a very good bird for the province.
Better quality photos soon confirmed, however, that the bird in question was a Hepatic Tanager, a first for the province and only the second record for Canada. The bird is still present as of November 7.
Wadena is in southeast Sakatchewan, approximately three hours east of Saskatoon on SK-5 East. Guy Wapple posted the following directions to the provincial listserv.
To find their house enter Wadena from the west along Hwy. 5. Take the THIRD LEFT (NORTH) turn which is 2ND ST.
Theirs is the 4th house on the LEFT (WEST), side of the street. It is just opposite the north end of the RCMP detachment building across the way.
The Sundholm residence has pale pink siding. You will not have any trouble finding it! There are several feeders are located in the front yard, so you can observe them from the shelter of your vehicle. The bird likes to visit a horizontal suet/seed cake feeder a couple of metres off the ground in the middle of the tree.
The Sundholms are open to visitors and ask only that birders coming to see the tanager respect their property. Contact information is available on the initial post to the listserv.
While Hepatic Tanager has the most retricted range of the four Piranga tanagers in the ABA Area, it is wide-ranging across the hemisphere, breeding as far south as northern Argentina. It has three subspecies, considered by many to be distinct species in their own right.
It has a limited history of vagrancy, occuring semi-annually up the California coast and in Colorado. Other records include Oklahoma (2009), Illinois (1981, 2010), Wyoming (2001), and Louisiana (several). The previous record from Canada is probably the most remarkable, however; an female in Montreal, Quebec, that stayed for two days in May of 1993.