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Which is the Scarlet Tanager?

The beautiful yellow bird to the right is a female Scarlet Tanager, which startles many people.*

Then what are these?

© Collection of The New-York Historical Society,, accession number 1863.17.137

The top two birds are male Western Tanagers found on the mountainsides of the Sierra-Nevada in California and the open conifer or mixed forests of Oregon, Washington, and western Canada. Like its eastern kin, it is a forest bird and insectivore, foraging in the tops of trees. It also feeds on some fruit and berries.

The Scarlet breeds in deciduous forests, especially where oaks are common, with a similar diet of insects and berries. They are found in our central and northeastern states, migrating across the Gulf of Mexico to tropical rain forests in the winter. Astonishingly beautiful birds, they are in decline. We are losing them.

* Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

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