Plate 13: Scarlet Tanager

Piranga olivacea

Nest & Eggs: Scarlet Tanager

Referred to as “black winged red birds,” you’ll find them among the hardwood trees, particularly oaks.

The Scarlet Tanager is the brilliant red bird with black wings and tail, common all over the Eastern and Middle States. His mate is dressed in modest olive green, and the nestlings are like her the first year.

The tanager himself wears his gay dress only during the nesting season, that is, spring and summer. Towards fall he turns from scarlet to green like his mate, and he is a droll-looking object while he does it. He seems to break out into green patches or streaks. One that I watched began by showing a little green feather among the red on each side of his breast. I have seen one with a green ring around the neck, and all the rest of the plumage scarlet; and another with a green stripe down the back. Some show no regularity about it, but are covered with green patches all over, and look like bunches of colored rags….

The nest of this bird is not very high in a tree. It is a rather shabby affair, that looks as if it would fall to pieces, and the birds are madly shy about being looked at.

The Children’s Book of Birds
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the Scarlet Tanager story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XIII: Scarlet Tanager, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Scarlet Tanager at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The Scarlet Tanager is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXVIII. Peter Sees Rosebreast and Finds Redcoat.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Scarlet Tanager Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Scarlet Tanager
Bird picture for notebook.

Redcoat the Scarlet Tanager
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Scarlet Tanager Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:


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