Being a dedicated backyard bird watching enthusiast, there is nothing that compares with looking out my window and spotting a bird I have never seen before seen at my feeders dining on my food offerings. Less than a week ago, I had the opportunity to enjoy one of these rare occurrences.
As is always the case, the sighting was totally unexpected. In this instance, while working at my computer, I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts and glanced out my office window to see what, if any, birds were feeding. Immediately I spotted what I thought was a male northern cardinal standing atop a wire basket containing a cake of suet. However, when I looked at the bird through a pair of binoculars I was stunned to see it was instead an adult male summer tanager.
It would be an understatement to say I was surprised. I have been feeding birds since I was a child and never once spotted a summer tanager eating suet. I have read about others seeing summer tanagers eating suet, but I never thought I would do so in my own backyard.
I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few photos of the bird before it left. Later the tanager returned and briefly shared suet with a downy woodpecker. When it flew away, it l left me with an image that is forever forged in my memory.