Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Tanager

Erika and I visited the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on 28 June. We looked forward to the arboretum’s exhibition of giant insect sculptures. We were not disappointed. We walked the three-mile auto loop, as is our custom when visiting the arboretum. For the past three days, a Summer Tanager was reported from the Buckeye Grove along our route. The tanager, singing loudly, greeted us at the grove. It sounded like an off-key robin or Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Summer Tanagers breed across the southern United States. Especially spring males, like the one we photographed, are regularly reported north of the breeding range. Less often they are found in the north during the fall. This Summer Tanager was my first in Minnesota. Very little is known about the breeding biology of Summer Tanagers. Overall, their populationa appear to be stable. Only at the edges of its range has this species been declining (Robinson 2012).
Summer Tanagers are bee and wasp specialists. One of the folk names for this tanager is Beebird. They also consume a wide variety of fruits and invertebrates.

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