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Plate No. 354: Louisiana Tanager and Scarlet Tanager
John J. Audubon published his signature work, The Birds of America, between 1827 and 1838. The collection featured 435 plates, his depiction of the Louisiana Tanager (known today as the Western Tanager) and the Scarlet Tanager can be found on plate number 354.
Below are experts containing Audubon’s observations of the Western Tanager, taken from The Birds of America.
“Mr. Townsend says that "this handsome bird is called Ik kok koot by the Chinook Indians. It is rare on the banks of the Platte, but rather common in the woods and oak groves of the Columbia.”
“Its voice is generally harsh, being a low and guttural churr, but it at times sings with considerable spirit. The female is very silent and retired in her habits, and is therefore seldom seen.”
“Plumage soft, blended; feathers of the head stiffish, with silky lustre”
“About the middle of May we observed the males in small numbers scattered through the dark pine forests of the Columbia, restless, shy, and flitting when approached, but at length more sedentary when mated. We frequently traced them out by their song, which is a loud, short, slow, but pleasing warble, not much unlike the song of the Common Robin, delivered from the tops of the lofty fir-trees. This music continues at short intervals throughout the whole forenoon, during which time our songster is busily engaged in quest of such coleopterous insects and larvae as are to be found on the young branches of the trees he frequents, and which require an assiduous and long-continued search to gratify his wants.”
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