Yesterday, we had a large flock of robins descend on our garden, eating our crab apples and drinking at our fountain. Among them was this lovely, female Scarlet Tanager.
The female has olive-brown wings and strong olive edges on the wing coverts and flight feathers. In winter, adult males, who are scarlet red in summer, also turn yellow, but they have black wings with no strong olive edging to their wing feathers. Subtle distinctions, but that is how you tell the sexes apart in fall. Birding is sometimes about subtle distinctions.
She hopped around the fountain drinking from each side. She looked like she wanted to bath, but the water was too deep, so she finaly just flew through the fountain spray! What a fun moment, she looked like a Scarlet Tanager at a water park.
P.S. If you want to attract more birds to your property add bird baths or ponds that have fountains or drippers. The sound of running water is magnet for birds.
Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007