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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Those little nimble musicians of the air,

that warble forth their curious ditties, 
with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art. 
  ~Izaak Walton

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 ....


  1. Anonymous12:53 AM

    Hope you survived last night's storm and your yard is none the worse for wind and water.
    A tanager! Rare and beautiful. Great photo capture.
    I am familiar with this weeks answer, so will not reveal it. My brother "turns out" in this too frequently. You've hooked us up with an easy one this week.

  2. Perhaps if it had been a tangerine peel it might have tipped off those in the know. It's a beautiful bird.
    I'm 100% sure I know what your mystery pic of the week is, as I've had the opportunity to inspect them close up on more than one occasion and quite thankfully having nothing to do with their use. You might even say your photograph is seasonal as it's certainly that time of year, just hope we don't have need of one, (or more for that matter) but certainly grateful they come should it become necessary. A few years ago the neighbors had an incident where they came out and my son and I went over to take a closer look and very nearly got bombed by the flying variety. We had to run for it, and barely escaped the splash down, We were told it would have knocked us off our feet and flattened us. And to think our concern about the air quality had to do with inhalation...

  3. So my guess of a shish-kebob was waaaay off then. I didn't see the bird's legs so I never would have guessed.

    This week is a fire truck. My son owns a million of them.

  4. awww pretty birds love your posts and wow very informative too. Thanks

  5. I have no idea what that is - I'm still looking at the Tanager and wishing he would stop by my window. He would make for a great episode of Bird TV!

  6. Thanks for such an informative post. I have been trying in vain to lure colorful birds to my back yard. Not sure that I would get a Tanager but anything would be nice. Oh, I get plenty of hummingbirds. I didn't know to try fruit peels. That is next for me!!
    The Tattered Tassel

  7. How interesting. these are such beautiful birds.

  8. I don't think I've ever seen one of those.

    Have a great Wednesday!

  9. That is one beautiful bird! Um was there a fire at your house? Is that what I'm looking at? lol

  10. What a pretty bird. I've never heard of that-great pic's of him. Happy Reds!

  11. What a darling little friend!

  12. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful bird! I had to go look in my bird book, where I keep a record of birds that I don't normally see, and I had in fact seen one pass through here back in May of '99! Sure wish they'd stop by again real soon!
    Happy REDnesday!

  13. my mother loves birds and we grew up watching them out the windows of our house where our mother kept bird houses, flowers, bird feeders etc...

  14. That bird is absolutely beautiful!

    I'm guessing that last picture is part of a fire truck. ;)

  15. Those are really great shots!

    Oh yes the last photo is a fire truck all the way.

  16. Tanagers are not very common here. The last photo is a fire truck!

  17. Beautiful bird! About this week puzzle, I have a picture of my son right on that spot when his class had a trip to the city fire department last year, so that picture looks pretty familiar ;)

  18. That is interesting and such a cute bird. I saw one outside me window and rushed to watch it! it had the boldest blue and white and black.

    Is that a garage?

  19. Lovely little birdie!
    Yes, you've given us an easy one with the firetruck.
    Have a wonderful week.

  20. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your beautiful comments. God bless you also.
    These photos of that gorgeous bird are stunning, and the lesson was very thorough, thank you.
    Thank you for sharing the photo of America's bravest with us also, they are some of our country's heroes also.
    Hope you have a lovely week!

  21. Awwwwwwwwww great game. I was close wasn't I? Love the photo. Thought I'd stop by and say hello. Rather late, so I better say goodnight, but I'll be back.

  22. Don't konw how you always get such great nature photos, but great job. Thanks for stopping by and linkin up. Sorry I'm a bit behind.

  23. Gorgeous bird! I had thought Oriole too as I've never seen a tanager, lucky you! This week's is a Firetruck!

  24. I always learn something when I pay you a visit. I'll guess fire truck, fireman's gear. By the looks of it I hope he/she did not completely undress! :)

  25. I'm reading this post to my son...never to young to learn!


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