I’ve gotten pretty used to the sounds of the usual bird inhabitants of our area, so when I heard a strange, new chirp, I had to take a look outside. When I glanced out the window, at first all I saw was a little red finch on the edge of the porch roof. But then, on the clothesline, I saw a bird I’d never seen before – it had a brilliant yellow-gold chest and blue wings with a black head! Stood out like primary colored paints (hah – almost typed ‘pants’) splashed on the side of an adobe building.

I started thumbing through my bird book and found the exact bird, a Blue-Winged Mountain Tanager. But apparently, these birds aren’t North American – they are SOUTH American – mostly in Ecuador and Venezuela. I wonder how it got all the way up here, since it’s not migratory. Got caught in a stiff wind? Brought up by exotic bird rustlers? Just decided to see a different part of the world? In any case, it’s still, literally, a bright spot in my day – LOL!

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