The Scarlet Tanager is a bird that rivals the male cardinal in brilliance.
Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
If you want to find the bird, you should rely on your ears
as well as your eyes. According to master birder Roger Tory
Peterson, the scarlet tanager's singing is like that of a
robin "with a sore throat." May is the best month to spot
the scarlet tanager — as spring gives way to summer, the
males' bright red plumage turns to a yellowish-green.
Scarlet tanagers are most common in the eastern half of the
U.S. from southeastern Oklahoma to northern Alabama and
from northern Georgia to just above the U.S.-Canadian
border. Related species are not quite as bright but are
beautiful in their own right. The male Western tanager,
common to the western states, has a red face and a yellow
body with black back, wings and tail. The male summer
tanager of the southeastern U.S. is red all over.