Friday, July 07, 2006

Scarlet Tanager quick facts

The Animal Diversity site has a quick look at the Scarlet Tanager, including its call:

Males usually arrive from their winter stay in South America slightly before the females and stake out territories in choice tall trees. To warn the other males away, each sings frequently from his own spot with songs such as :"querit, queer, queery, querit, queer" along with the call note "CHIP-churr or CHICK-bur". Females are attracted to the singing males, who court potential mates by hopping about on low perches in woods near the ground, spreading their wings and displaying their scarlet backs. The males often feed their partners as the nesting season approaches.
This bothers me though:
Adult scarlet tanagers are eaten by birds of prey, including eastern screech owls, long-eared owls, short-eared owls and merlins. Eggs and nestling predators include blue jays, grackles, American crows, squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes.

Scarlet tanagers mob most predators, diving and swooping around them while calling at them. However, scarlet tanagers respond to American crows and merlins by becoming quiet and watchful, apparently in an attempt to be inconspicuous.

Most of the predators live in my neighborhood at one time or another. That's probably why there aren't alot of Scarlet Tanagers about. We do get the Summer Tanagers though.

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