Scarlet Tanagers often appear in southern Ontario in mid-May, before the trees are in leaf, when their brilliant plumage causes gasps of wonder in appreciative onlookers.
On their breeding grounds, high in the maples in June, they are surprisingly hard to find and are usually located only by song or calls.
By fall much of their spring finery has been replaced by green and most pass unnoticed, to winter in the tropical forests of South America.
Males with their brilliant scarlet or vermilion bodies and contrasting black wings and tail, are easily identified.
Females have green body plumage with dark brown wings and tail.
The song is a hoarse, robin-like carol and the call an emphatic “tip-her”.
Dr. J. Murray Speirs