Species on the move: tanagers in the US during April 2021

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Apr 29, 2021

Spring migration is filled with wonderful opportunities to see brightly plumaged birds on the move to their respective breedings grounds. In this post, we let the spectacular colors of three species of tanagers – Scarlet, Western, and Summer – speak for themselves, with the complement of an animation of their arrival and progression en masse in the US and Canada during the month of April.

These three species embody an array of interesting migration strategies, and as such they showcase diverse patterns of arrivals during their movements – Western Tanagers make short and long flights to reach their breeding areas in coniferous and mixed forest habitats across the western US and Canada; Summer Tanager arrives to riparian, deciduous, and pine woodlands though some times leaps far beyond intended destinations in slingshot-driven overshoots; and Scarlet Tanager cover great distances before entering US airspace en route to eastern deciduous forests.

Above, we see an animation illustrating the arrivals of these three species as reported to eBird during the last several weeks. We have purposefully left the species designations off the maps, and of course if you would like to explore these patterns specifically, check out Scarlet Tanager, Western Tanager, and Summer Tanager observations in eBird!