During breeding season, western tanagers eat mostly insects, including dragonflies, even clipping off their wings and sometimes their head and legs before swallowing them down.
Scanning for insects, they perch motionless except for side-to-side head motions. Sighting their prey, they are swift flyers with rapid, powerful wingbeats and can also hover for a few seconds at a time, nabbing their insect prey on the wing.
The males, with their glowing dramatic colours of red, yellow and black, are in charge of feeding the young nestlings while the female keeps them warm and dry.
With a family of three to five, the quantity of insects required is almost unimaginable.
This male was caught by a cat in Wildwood and his wing was almost torn off.
After having the wing wrapped at PROWLS, and being scheduled for an emergency appointment within hours with Dr. Barnes at Westview Veterinary Hospital, this beautiful bird died before getting to surgery.
The poor nestlings will soon experience the absence of the male, begin to suffer and starve.