Both the female and male of this particular species are very similar in appearance, which makes it quite hard to tell them apart at first sight. If you wish to know the gender of one of these birds you will need to watch how it behaves. The male tends to sing more frequently, and obviously if you found one has laid eggs you know it must be the female! When mating, Tanagers prefer to set up their nest high up in the trees out of the reach of potential predators, and in a humid atmosphere – this helps their eggs develop well. A female bird will lay between two and three eggs at a time, and it will only be a matter of two weeks before they hatch.
Living all over South America, the Paradise Tanager tends to stay mostly in the Amazon Basin and the surrounding areas, including Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and of course Columbia. Strangely, the bird is not typically found in the Amazon’s south, only the north, and generally within the forest or at its more humid edges. It seems that the Tanager is most often found in the forest itself, and thrives best in this area. It is a very rare bird, and sadly is currently on a list of threatened species.
The size of the Paradise Tanager is roughly 13 to 15 cm in length, or around 6 to 8 inches – meaning that it may be kept as a pet bird if you own a large cage and can provide it with plenty of water. Because their natural habitat is in the Amazon, these birds should live on a diet of fresh and tropical fruits and nuts if they are being kept in captivity. You can feed them bananas, pears, figs and slice of orange. The bird will be happiest if it is also regularly offered a selection of small insects, including crickets, meal worms and fruit flies. If you take proper care of your pet it will be a life long friend, however they do require several hours of attention a day to remain healthy, so it is ill advised to keep, or especially breed, them in captivity.
When you notice birds in the sky, pecking at the dirt, or doing what birds generally do, even if it doesn’t seem particularly interesting, you will actually find that it can be very fun and calming to observe – this fun can be improved upon by going bird watching! Bird watching is often referred to as “birding”, and is becoming an increasingly popular hobby with more people becoming interested all the time. A lot of these new bird enthusiasts have found that being out in nature is a refreshing and relaxing experience in a fast paced world, and also gives us a greater appreciation of our feathered friends. Many people have also started to pay more attention to the preservation of the environment because of this new found appreciation for nature.
Before you go on your first bird watching trip you should make sure to research some of the basic tips that can help you have a good day and not be disappointed. Setting up your own bird feeder, house or bath in your garden is a good idea, but there are several species of birds you will have to travel to see as they will not leave their natural habitats. You should also be prepared to get up early, as dawn is by far the best time to engage in birding; this is because birds are most active at this time, regardless of where you are located.
After an early night and a good solid sleep you will have to be willing to get up bright and early to be in position by dawn. This way you can be in a good spot before the birds start to become active, and they will not notice you arriving and be unnerved. In the three or four hours leading up to dawn you will notice the most bird watching action, and you will be shocked at just how many you can see compared to other times of day – just don’t arrive late as you will see far less action. Another good idea is to avoid any brightly colored clothing. Take cover in the bushes and wear clothes in earthy tones that will hep you to blend in with your surroundings. This just means wearing natural colors, you don’t need to go full camo – just try to make the birds comfortable by not letting them know that you are there. (Although if this is a hobby you plan to spend many hours on for years to come camouflage gear could be considered, it just isn’t necessary for beginners.)
Another vital element of bird watching is keeping your noise to a minimum. This doesn’t just include talking to anyone who might have joined you birding, but also moving around very slowly, carefully and quietly as well. If you are with another person talking wont only scare the birds in the area away but it can also block out any noise that they might be making, and you could easily miss them. If you need to talk to your companion or companions, do so in a very low whisper, or alternatively consider developing a simple system of hand gestures to convey your message – just don’t flail about wildly, as this will naturally scare the birds away even faster than talking would do. Trying to hide behind large objects like trees, boulders and bushes can be a very good idea, as well as a shadowy spot – if birds notice your silhouette moving they will panic and fly away.
If you stay on the path you will make less noise and be less noticeable than if you try to get too close and start disturbing the foliage. Another thing to remember is to never try to scare a bird out of hiding, or let any young children with you chase them – this will panic them and not only will it scare them away, but it is also cruel. The best way to bird watch is by allowing them to come to you, and finding a good spot where you are comfortable and can remain still. Having a bird feeder near by will also make birds less nervous as they eat, and they will be far more likely to come over to you.
Make sure that you do not venture too close to birds, particularly during the summer and spring time as this is their mating season – also stay well away from any nests you might spot. It is best to stay a safe distance back and use a good pair of binoculars or alternatively, if you plan on this being a long term hobby, you might consider investing in a spotting scope in order to see the birds as clearly as possible.
If you are a big fan of nature then birding could be the best hobby for you. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and by watching birds you can find new challenges, as well as a relaxing way to spend time outside. It is very easy to start, you can just set up some bird feeders in your own garden, and perhaps some houses to encourage nesting. Of course you will have to go on trips to find new and different varieties of birds, but seeing them come and go from your own home can be a most thrilling experience for any bird enthusiast, or even those who just enjoy their beauty.