Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scarlet tanager

Slightly blurry picture of a scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) seen while hiking near Lake Minnewaska recently.  Hard for my digital camera to focus on the bird through all the intervening vegetation.

First time I've seen this beautiful bird out in the wild in this area.  These birds are hard to spot since they're shy and spend a lot of time in the forest canopy making them difficult to see.  They have a nice song (sometimes compared to that of a "robin with a sore throat") but I'm not sure I could recognize it in the woods.

Unbelievably, this little bird migrates to and from South America every October and April where it overwinters in places like Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru.  Unfortunately, scarlet tanager populations are declining in the Hudson Valley, most likely from habitat destruction due to ever-increasing development in the area.

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