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Scarlet Tanager fledglings!

Our Sabbath Surprise

This morning (now yesterday) dawned a bit cooler than previous mornings, and I skipped my usual Sabbath morning walk. I took my quiet time indoors, wondering where my husband had gone.

Greg, my husband, came in and stuck his phone under my nose. Odd for him to do that, I thought.

What is it?

Andrew asked him what the picture was. I wasn’t paying much attention until I heard the words, “baby bird,” then “Scarlet Tanager.”

My ears perked up then.

Here’s the photo he took.

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Tiny Tanager

Greg had been walking along when he noticed the baby bird flapping on the ground. He thought we might need to rescue the birdie, and was already planning the baby bird’s diet in his mind. Thankfully, he stuck around long enough to hear the chirpy sounds from above.

Identifying the Baby Scarlet Tanager

I like to think that I’ve taught my husband to recognize the sound of the Scarlet Tanager. We’ve been hearing these guys all Spring, and while, at first, I was the only one who got excited, now my husband gets equally happy to hear the call of this beautiful red bird. He’s gotten very good at his identification. So, I can’t take much credit, except for getting the initial excitement going.

Male scarlet Tanager
Male. Photo Wikipedia


Greg heard a sound sort of like the Scarlet Tanager, but different, at the same time. He stopped to listen, realizing that what he heard was the mommy and daddy Tanagers talking to their little guy on the ground. Their calls were much more chirpy than usual. And insistent.

Scarlet tanager on front of field guide

When Greg showed me the picture, I had to go see. I grabbed my camera, and headed out.

We couldn’t find the baby bird then. He had hopped away. But I enjoyed watching both parent birds hop closer and closer. I got a good look at both the mama and the daddy. But I never got a great shot of them. They simply didn’t stay put!

Female Scarlet TanagerFemale. Photo Audobon.org


I watched for twenty minutes or so, while the parents flitted around from tree to tree, ever closer, always calling. They had trained their little baby to stay perfectly still and to remain silent (or was that just instinct), for I never saw him, even though I was sure he was close by. I was struck by the lesson of obedience in this little nature illustration.

I went out seeking to get a nice shot of all of the Scarlet Tanager birds–make, female, and baby. Since I couldn’t find the baby, that shot was out. Then my camera battery died, and I felt like God was trying to show me to just enjoy the moment.

Scarlet Tanager woman in forest

So I paused, and just listened, watched, and waited. I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the forest, without the stress of capturing the perfect shot of a bird who refused to pose.

Time to head in

I decided that I’d used up enough of my morning out in the woods. I felt content that I’d gotten to see and hear the Tanagers up close. I had the picture that Greg took to enjoy, and I knew we had witnessed the beauty of a little bird’s first day out of the nest. So I headed in.

I slipped on a rock, stuck my hand out to grab a branch to steady myself, and almost placed it right on the baby Scarlet Tanager! I jumped back at those little black eyes staring back at me! He was absolutely adorable!

Fledgling Summer Tanager. Looks exactly like the Scarlet Tanager we saw.

“Somebody come out here!!”

Then, I started to holler! I had to get someone’s attention, since all of my family had gone inside.

“Come bring me my phone!”

Greg brought me his phone, and I showed him the tiny bird in the tree! Apparently, Greg looked a lot scarier than I did, because that little bird jumped away as soon as Greg came over! But he still was nearby, so I took a couple pictures of him.

Baby scarlet Tanager
Fledgling scarlet Tanager
He hopped a little and his foot got cockeyed on the last hop

Mama and Papa bird kept close by, and the little bird hopped about a little bit. I decided he’d had enough excitement due to humans that day, so I left him alone to recover. I would have loved to stick around to watch him take his first flight, but knew I needed to go, and he needed a rest.

What a treasure!

I’m so happy that God allowed us to see a little part of the happy little bird family’s big day. Once again, you can only see Nature if you get out of your house and look around. God’s surprises are not delivered straight to your Inbox. You gotta get out to find them!

More surprises from nature? Read about them here, like Huckleberry Haven or Blueberry Hill, or Early Spring Wildflower Walk

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Shared at:

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Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog Hop

13 Replies

  1. What a wonderful treat especially since scarlet tanagers typically hang out at the treetops!

    1. Aww! He was a cute little guy! It’s our first time ever seeing one, and our first Speing living in our land. This is the first time we’ve been blessed with Scarlet tanagers so close! Before, we’d go hiking and hear them in the treetops. Now, they’re always calling out—but they do stay way up there!

  2. What an adorable little baby! I hope their family is all doing well 🙂

    Thank you for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays! We’re open for new posts this week…hope to see you soon!

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️