From 1999 through 2001 we located and monitored Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) nests in public open-space properties in Boulder County, Colorado. Fifty-four of 58 nests were located in ponderosa pine and the remainder in Douglas-fir. Nests were generally placed near the midpoint of branches in areas of high canopy cover (>50%) in the middle section of nest trees. Nest height varied as a function of nest tree height, and nests were oriented randomly in relation to trunks of nest trees. Tanager nesting success varied annually, with estimates using the Mayfield method ranging from 11.3% in 2000 to 75.3% in 2001. At least 8 nests were predated, and predation was the primary cause of nest failure. Parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) occurred in 7 of 17 (41%) nests found during egg-laying or incubation. Clutch size averaged 3.8 in 10 unparasitized nests, but only 2.4 in 8 parasitized nests. Brood parasitism dramatically reduced the number of tanager fledglings produced per nest.
Fischer, Karen N.; Prather, John W.; and Cruz, Alexander
"Nest site characteristics and reproductive success of the Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) on the Colorado Front Range,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 62
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol62/iss4/10