Scarlet Tanager

Piranga olivacea

If there is such a thing as a breathtakingly beautiful bird, the Scarlet Tanager would be near the top of the list for most of us. When winter ends and spring approaches, these birds leave their winter homes in the mountains of northwestern South America and migrate north to Arkansas and east to the Appalachians, and north to southern Canada where they look for large tracts of broadleaf forests to raise the next generation.

My only meetings with this species have been in south Texas during the 2020 and 2021 spring migrations.

Populations have declined in the past half century by about 14%. Some believe forest fragmentation may threaten the habitat they require, and contribute to this decline.

Science lists the Scarlet Tanager as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies recognised).

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