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Western Tanagers are passing through Cache Valley

05/28/2020

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Western Tanagers are visiting the USU campus on their annual migration to the mountains.

“Western tanagers pass through Utah’s Cache Valley every spring but sometimes, as we’ve seen this year, they linger and build up in large numbers before heading to their mountain destinations,” says Utah State University ornithologist Kim Sullivan. “This is called ‘staging.’” The overnight dusting of snow that northern Utah woke up to on May 23, was no surprise to the Western tanagers and the migratory birds have been “stacking up” in Cache Valley and attracting notice with their colorful feathers. 

“These birds are very sensitive to barometric pressure,” says Sullivan, associate professor in USU’s Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center. “We’ve had some cold weather during the past few weeks and the tanagers have hunkered down here in Cache Valley, before venturing to breeding grounds in coniferous mountain forests.”

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