All Puffed Up

We’ve had our first couple really chilly nights here in eastern Tennessee and you sure can tell the weather’s colder by how fluffed up the birds are. They look so round!

The photos below are Scarlet Tanagers that visited my property this fall. I believe the one in the top photo is a male in yellow fall plumage and the one below is a female or immature male. The breeding males, which are bright red with black wings in the spring, turn yellow in the fall and look like the females.  The wings on the males are black, while the wings on the females and immature males are a dark olive color.

Here are some notes I’ve made this year about what seems to attract Scarlet Tanagers:

  • They like water. I’ve seen them drinking at birdbaths.  They’re pretty enthusiastic bathers too.  They seem to prefer bathing in the ponds with stone bottoms, and I see them most often drinking at the more traditional style bird baths.
  • They like to eat the berries from dogwood trees. I’ve seen two or three of them at a time in my dogwoods, pulling berries loose and flying off with them.
Scarlet Tanager, with feathers fluffed up on a cold morning.

Cold Scarlet Tanager, all fluffed up.

Fall Scarlet Tanager in yellow color

A slimmer looking Scarlet Tanager on a warm day.


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