Scarlet Tanager

At least two Scarlet Tanagers sing in the woods around the neighborhood. One makes the rounds of the trees across the street from our house and down into the woods around a creek there. I can see him best when he sings from a large red oak at the corner, though it’s amazing how well such a brilliantly colorful bird can blend in with the leaves. He rarely, if ever, sings from the very top of a tree, but usually just below the top, a small drop of blazing red with ink-black wings among the green leaves.

His song is flat and almost harsh, six or seven phrases flung out assertively, similar to the song of a Robin or a Summer Tanager, but without the Robin’s more musical, thrush-like, cheerful quality, and unlike the lilting hoarse phrases of a Summer Tanager.

A second Scarlet Tanager sings in the woods around a different part of the neighborhood. He’s almost always singing when I walk by in the morning, and often I find him among the leaves of a certain tall tulip poplar, just below the top.

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