Picture Ohio! – A Study in Scarlet

Scarlet Tanager, Cascade Metropark, Akron, Ohio
Scarlet Tanager, Cascade Metropark, Akron, Ohio

A male Scarlet Tanager, resplendent in red and black plumage, pauses to check out the photographer near the Cuyahoga River in Summit County, Ohio. The yellowish feathers on the bird’s head, back and breast indicate that it has not quite completed the molt to its breeding plumage of solid red and black.

Scarlet Tanager, Cascade Metropark, Akron, Ohio
Scarlet Tanager, Cascade Metropark, Akron, Ohio

The Scarlet Tanager nests in the canopy of mature deciduous woodlands, and in Ohio is most commonly found in the heavily forested areas of southeast and southern Ohio. These birds are most often seen high in the trees, but will sometimes search for food, primarily¬† insects and fruit, close to the ground. That’s what this cooperative tanager was doing near the parking lot of a metropark along the Cuyahoga River near Akron, Ohio. Scarlet Tanagers generally move about at a more leisurely pace than warblers, making them easier to photograph by middle-aged photographers like me whose reflexes are not what they used to be.

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