Migration: The Color of Spring

Scarlet tanager, May 2021 (photo by Christopher T)

1 May 2022

May at last! For the next three weeks gorgeous birds will arrive on the south wind, some to nest, others to pause on their northward journey. With colors more vibrant than April’s wildflowers they suddenly appear among new green leaves. Red, yellow, blue, black and white, Christopher T’s photos show them at their best.

Male scarlet tanagers (Piranga olivacea) are not scarlet when they spend the winter in South America — instead they are green — but by the time they’re back home in the eastern U.S. they are the brightest red.

Kentucky warblers (Geothlypis formosa) highlight brilliant yellow with a black cap and mask. We are lucky to have this uncommon bird nesting in Pennsylvania. I-80 approximates the northern edge of their range.

Kentucky warbler, May 2021 (photo by Christopher T)

Male indigo buntings (Passerina cyanea) are mottled brown when they spend the winter in Central and South America, but nothing says “blue!” like an indigo bunting in May sunshine.

Indigo bunting, July 2021 (photo by Christopher T)

Even black and white look beautiful when worn by a male black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia) …

Black and white warbler, April 2022 (photo by Christopher T)

… and more beautiful when punctuated by the male rose-breasted grosbeak’s (Pheucticus ludovicianus) exclamation point. Watch carefully when he flies to see the rosy surprise beneath his wings.

Rose-breasted grosbeak, May 2021 (photo by Christopher T)

Get outdoors this month to enjoy migration’s colors of spring.

(photos by Christopher T)

1 thought on “Migration: The Color of Spring

  1. Today we had a pair of Baltimore Orioles check out our feeders. Last week we had a Pileated Woodpecker at our suet feeder, first one we’ve seen in our woods in the 10 years we’ve lived here. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks arrived a week or so ago. Great to see all of the colorful birds in the woods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.