As you might imagine, a brilliant red bird will catch your eye whether you’re on a trail in the Michigan woods or looking at the crested Northern Cardinal at your bird feeder.
When the bird is a Summer Tanager, a bright red or orange-red bird that typically breeds further south than southeast Michigan, you can imagine the excitement of birders in our area when they learned one had been sighted this spring!
For me, finding the Summer Tanager was challenging.
After two hours of searching a location where it had been sighted earlier in the day, I had pretty much given up finding it.
I took the trail back to my vehicle, only to discover two other birders walking toward me.
After confirming they were also looking for the Summer Tanager, I explained where I looked, and where other people had seen it.
One of the birders took a look at the top of the trees for less than two minutes.
They looked up to the top of a nearby oak tree and said, “Is that it? Or is that a Northern Cardinal?”
I peered through the branches of the oak tree, and quickly took a breath.
“Yes, that’s the Summer Tanager! The silhouette shows it doesn’t have a crest on it’s head and it looks bigger than the Scarlet Tanager.”
How exciting to see it!