Western Tanager

How to Attract Western Tanager to your Yard? Expert Tips!

The western tanager is a medium-sized American bird family of songbirds native to the deserts of Central America and the South American region of the Andes.

There are five subspecies of this species which are native to the central and southwestern United States.

It’s actually quite easy to get this lovely little feathered friend to your garden, even without having to be an expert.

How to Attract Western Tanagers

If you are a beginner who wants to learn how to attract western tanager to your yard, but don’t know where to start, then the following article is perfect for you.

We will be showing you the basics of what to do to attract the western tanager.


These birds generally don’t eat seed, but there are many types of foods you can put out for the Western Tanager to eat, the main ones that most people tend to use to attract them are suet, nectar, meal worms, raisins, fruit or berries.

You can choose to use all of them or just one or the other depending on what you want to attract them to your yard.

I have the best success enticing them to my yard using a suet feeder with suet cakes or use an orange fruit feeder with cut halved oranges. All these products are available on Amazon.

In the wild they tend to favor eating insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, ants, bees, termites, caterpillars, wasps and cicadas. They will also enjoy feeding on some fruits like oranges and some types of berries such as elderberry and the mulberry.


If you are looking to entice them into your backyard, the most effective method is by using a birdbath. This will help you attract birds, and wildlife in your yard as well as help keep your yard clean and safe for them to stay. 

When setting up a small birdbath, you can start with a large birdbath  in the center of your yard where your bird has to go to eat. You can then plant trees along the edge of your birdbath, and you have the ideal location for your new birdbath.

If your yard has tall trees, you may want to put one under a tree. A simple birdbath with rocks and pebbles on the bottom and some small rocks and pebbles above should be enough to start with.

Rocks and pebbles in the birdbath need not be too large, since birds may use the birdbath as a natural nest or to dig for food. If you have a lot of space on hand, you can build a more elaborate and interesting birdbath structure that will attract several bird species to it.

The size and type of birdbath will depend on the number of different species that are found in your local area.


When it comes to habitat, Western Tanagers spend more time in the forest or backyards. Western Tanagers do not live in burrows they live in hollowed trees and rock crevices.

The log is usually the back part of the tree, or at the very top if it is very big. Because of their different types of habitats, this bird’s habitat can be quite varied. They can live just about anywhere they want. 

As they get older, they begin to avoid burrows and hollowed trees and prefer to live in more open spaces. Most Western Tanagers are territorial in their habitats. This means that they will fly up and down shrubs or trees to mark out their territory.

For many people, the best way to get this bird to your yard is to get  birdhouses. These birdhouses will provide the birds with shelter and nesting materials that they can use to raise their own families.

In addition to this, it will provide them with food to eat and nesting material that they can use to lay their eggs. They can even have their own houses on the ground in your yard where they can feed on the food that they take from the feeders.


Western Tanagers are not uncommon during spring and summer in the eastern half of North America.

They nest in hollowed trees, shrubs, fences, and in small burrows and crevices of forested areas. In the summer, they may be seen in and around ponds and lakes. 

There are four primary seasons that you can find the Western Tanager nesting. This bird starts to nest as early as November.

The female will begin building a roost in December after she has laid her eggs. The male will begin to build a nest in January or February. A female will usually lay an egg in March and a male will follow shortly thereafter.

Set up a Perch

One good way to get them to your yard is by setting up a structure that will attract them. A perch can easily attract a variety of different types of birds to your yard. You should place a perch near bird baths or other birdhouse so that the birds that are attracted will stay there.

Trees & Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are a great way to get them into your yard, you need to look no further than the surrounding environment.

This species of bird thrives in areas that have a high abundance of different kinds of foliage as well as trees and shrubs, so finding this type of habitat is a great place to start.

Tree and shrub trees can also be used as shelter during winter. If you already have some form of shade on your yard, you might want to consider turning it into a refuge for your Western Tanager in the summer months.

You may want to consider planting several trees in your backyard so you can create different habitats throughout the summer as well as provide shelter for your bird throughout the colder seasons.

  • White Fir
  • Sugar Pine
  • Douglas-fir
  • California Black Oak
  • Balsam Poplar
  • Speckled Alder
  • White Spruce
  • Red Alder
  • California incense-cedar
  • Pin Oak
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Wild Cherry
  • Hemlock

Flowers & Vines

The trick with attracting Western Tanager with flowers is to choose the right type of wildflower for the particular type of bird that you want to attract, then put them in an area where they can easily blend in with the surrounding areas.

If you do this, you should have a much easier time attracting the bird and have more success with them returning to your garden each year.

  • Wild Grape
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Wild Blueberry
  • Serviceberries

Best Time to see Western Tanager

Western Tanagers are one of the most beautiful birds that you can see in your garden this spring. These bright red and yellow birds are active during the spring months looking for food.

They may even be near when you’re watering your plants, so keep an eye out! Western tanagers visit gardens from April to May, but they will stay until July.

If you have a bird feeder in your yard, these birds will come around and try to eat from it as well.