that warble forth their curious ditties,
with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.
Oh little red bird, pretty little red bird,
I so enjoyed your visit that short spring day.
You enjoyed a meal and flitted around in sunshine
to show off your pretty red feathered attire.
What a shame you did not stay.
I hope you come again another day.
We had no wizards this week, (sniff) my friends...
Sad, but true. Some were very close and many figured out the almost empty peel of an orange, but that was not the answer I was looking for, as I mentioned in my post. Many noticed little legs and quite a few speculated at quite a few birds that would of been most likely correct on another day.
Here was my handsome visitor that fine spring day...
A Scarlet Tanager!
He is a striking black-winged red bird, the Scarlet Tanager is a common species of the eastern forest interior. Despite its brilliant coloring it is often not seen because of its rather secretive behavior and its preference for the high tree tops.
Females like most birds are not as fancy, olive green to yellow body, brightest on throat, rump and under the tail. Brownish olive wings and tail edged green. The males take on a similar appearance when molting in early spring and fall with the difference of added mixed red and olive green in body feathers.
The Scarlet Tanagers habitat is usually in deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous woodlands, especially mature forests is where they nest and breed. Occasionally in suburban areas with large trees. They select the tall tree tops for several reasons, a few being that they like to swoop down and snatch their prey, and a high nest leaves them less vulnerable from predators especially parasitic cowbirds .
( I hate them, we have plenty, if I can see into any nests I will remove the cowbird eggs)
Tanagers are considered foliage gleaners. Which simply means they capture insects by gleaning and grabbing them while hovering (hawk-like after flying insects.) Beating its prey against branch to kill it.
Some of the food it prefers?Insects and spiders, some earthworms, buds, and fruits. Some of those insects are my mortal enemies bees and wasps! Before eating a bee, the tanager removes the stinger by scrubbing it's butt on a branch. The tanager eats bee and wasp larvae too. It first catches the adult insects and then perches near the nest to tear it open and get the grubs. Since I am deathly allergic to stinging insects, I would almost pay to watch this feeding in action, a bit of revenge (with complete immunity, of course!) for me and all who suffer from nasty stinging buzzers. I excuse the honey bee on this list for they are most beneficial (just stay away from me, please!) and the big old bumble bees as they will normally leave you alone as long as you leave them be. Sorry, I am just a tad bit of the macabre on those bad stinging dudes. Now why this good looking fella didn't stick around when I obviously have an ample supply of this delicacy and tell his friends, I will never know (sighhhhh).
In their wintering grounds in South America the Scarlet Tanager joins mixed species foraging flocks with flycatchers, woodcreepers, and resident tropical tanagers. Like most birds that migrate long distances, the Scarlet Tanager puts on large amounts of fat to fuel the long flight. Tanagers arriving in Panama had enough fat to fly an estimated additional 553 miles (890 km). I am surprised they can get lift off with all that extra cargo!
The Tanager will eat fruit if supplied at bird feeders. Which I suppose, explains why he decided to stop over at our feeding station! I did have the oranges and grapefruit out to catch the eyes of any passing Orioles. I put out little bowls of grape jelly in a feeder my uncle made just for the size of the small bowls. I also put out juice feeders ( 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and boil) for Orioles and Hummingbirds. You would be surprised who I find trying to feed on those juice feeders! I will share some of those pictures some day.
Did you learn anything new this week?
Were you surprised at what last weeks braintwister revealed?
I just hope you were stimulated enough to play again and return!
Let's go in a different direction for next weeks stumper, this one should be fun for the guys and kids as well.
Get out your eyes and clean them off...
What could this be???
Leave your suspicions in the comment section below.
Mr. Linky is there as always for those that like to play along and leave a link to a post and visit other blogs and see the Wordless/Wordful/Watery/Wizard or what ever kind of Wednesday you like to play!
Keep those brain cells working!
Until next time ....