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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin



Scarlet Tanager -- Summer Tanager

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May, reaching the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-25 May. Fall migration begins in mid-August. Peak fall migration occurs 25 August to 15 September and departure by 1 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the Valley. This species is more widespread and probably occurs in greater densities in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Bernard (1967) considered the scarlet tanager a common summer resident in Douglas County. Jackson (1943) reported this species as common at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, and mentions the observation of mated pairs at that location. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 4.5 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County.

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of deciduous forest communities. Habitat use by nesting scarlet tanagers varies with geomorphic province. In the Western Upland, this species is most abundant in mature Lowland Deciduous Forest and Southern Deciduous Forest. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, scarlet tanagers are most abundant in mature Northern Hardwood Forest and in early successional stage aspen forest. Breeding pairs in Jack Pine Barren habitat are normally found in the "scrub" oak savannahs interspersed with jack pine.

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)

Status: Casual, two records.

Records: One male was observed in Polk County on 18 May 1956 (Lound and Lound 1956a). Another male was observed at Grantsburg, Burnett County, on 29 September 1967 (Caldwell 1968).

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