Scarlet Tanager – 5/4/23

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/4/23

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Scarlet Tanager

Scientific Name: Piranga olivacea

Comments: Scarlet tanagers often play host to eggs of the brown-headed cowbird, particularly where the forest habitat has been fragmented. When a pair of tanagers notices a female cowbird approaching, they aggressively drive her away. If they don’t notice, the cowbird gets rid of a tanager egg and replaces it with one of her own. The tanagers apparently can’t tell the difference, either before or after the egg hatches, and they raise the imposter along with the rest of their brood.

Scarlet tanagers live in the woods, so the best way to find them is to learn their song and listen for them while walking in the woods. Note that only the male is bright red. The female is drab green.

More Information: All About Birds