Scarlet Tanager

After-second-year male Scarlet Tanager

I’m halfway through a second post on the Frontenac Biothon, but kept letting myself get distracted by things and now it’s bedtime (well past, in fact!) so I’ll have to finish it up tomorrow. Instead, I’ll post this photo of a Scarlet Tanager. We caught this guy at our Maplewood Bog MAPS station last week. This gorgeous bird is, of course, a male. The females are always a greenish-yellow with brownish wings. In the fall males will also be greenish-yellow, but they’ll retain the black wing feathers of their summer plumage so it’s easy to tell them apart. This handsome fellow is an after-second-year individual (that is, he was hatched at least two years ago [2009 or earlier]; birds’ ages are labeled by calendar year, so birds hatched this summer are called “hatch-year”, those from last summer are “second-year”). You can tell second-year males from after-second-years by the blackness of the wings and the redness of the body – second-year birds will have browner wings and oranger body plumage. The after-second-years practically glow.

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2 responses to “Scarlet Tanager

  1. Those colors make one glad to be alive.

  2. Just saw my first one of the summer yesterday here in Pennsylvania. They are a delight. This dad had a youngster following him around. I’ll be watching for many more as the years pass.

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