English and Scientific names:

Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana

Number of individuals: 

1 non-breeding male



Specific Locality:

Grand Isle, yard on east side of Landry Lane south of playground.

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

about 4:00 p.m.

Reporting observer and address:

David P. Muth
New Orleans, La.

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

It was afternoon in fading light and overcast; bird was up in the canopy, partly silhouetted, east of my position.

Optical equipment: 

Eagle Optic Platinum Binoculars 10x50--good condition
Olympus 3.2 Mexapixel C-740 point and 10x optical shoot camera

Distance to bird(s): 

approx. 45-55'

Duration of observation:

less than one minute


residential yard in a mature coastal live oak stand adjacent to chenier woodlot

Behavior of bird: 

The bird was in a mixed species flock of typical fall birds for Grand Isle (sapsucker, phoebe, kinglets, ganatcatchers, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped and Palm warblers), feeding in the oaks, including a Magnolia Warbler. While tracking down the Magnolia which I heard calling, I lost the tanager.


I saw a bird fly out of the foliage and land on a bare branch. It was an obvious tanager (peg bill, slim stream-lined build, short tail), clear lemon yellow below, with a red-orange wash on the face, prominent upper wing bar and noticeably narrower lower wing bar. Beyond that I can provide no real description because I dropped my binoculars and grabbed my digital camera and managed to get off two poor shots. The bird flew back into the foliage and I shifted position to try to get a closer shot in better light. It was then I heard the Magnolia Warbler calling. Except for a couple of more quick glimpses of the bird high in the oak, I did not see it again.


not heard

Similar species:

The overall size and shape was typical for a tanager, and the bill shape ruled out oriole. The combination of a reddish-orange face and wingbars rule out other tanagers. My impression was that it was completely yellow below. However, the one photo on which any color or pattern can be seen (after enhancement), seems to show a contrasting pale belly. The photo is so pixelated that it may simply be misleading, but, given the brevity of the observation, my memory on this could also be faulty. The color on the face that I remember seems to be present in the photo, though, again, the photo is very grainy and had to be brightened and have the contrast and hues manipulated to see anything at all.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

yes, submitted

Previous experience with this species: 

fairly extensive--about ten in Louisiana and many more out west.

Identification aids:

usual thereafter

This description is written from: 

Primarily memory; when I entered it into Ebird I noted: "basic male in cemetery; yellow below, orange-red face, prominent upper wing bar.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: