A western tanager is a bright colored songbird seen mostly in the summer. The male has a bright orange-reddish head, a yellow body and black wing feathers, back, and tail. The females and immatures are a paler version of the male. This tanager has distinct white wing bars. They live in open wooded areas across the U.S., although mostly in the west. I’ve seen them among ponderosa pines, douglas firs, aspens, gambel oak, and in pinyon-juniper forests. They migrate south into Mexico for winter. The tanagers obtain the red color on their head from a pigment called rhodoxanthin. They cannot make this pigment on their own, they get it from their diet, which consists mostly of insects, along with some fruit. Western Tanagers at one time were thought to be menace to fruit crops and were killed by farmers, threatening their existence. Today, they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, their numbers have increased gradually over the last 50 years. This act protects migratory birds, making it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds, live or dead. The act also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs and nests.