Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Soft Calls of a Tanager Pair

The soft, clicking pit-oo, pit-oo calls of a pair of Summer Tanagers have been traveling through the trees all around the house for the past few days. These are quieter, more intimate calls than their usual, conversational pik-a-tuk.

Late this morning the pair were calling softly like this and going from place to place among the lower branches of trees in the back yard. The female emerged to sit on a bare stretch of a branch alone, where she swallowed something she had caught and wiped her bill on the branch. Her coloring was very deep, dusky yellow, almost orange, a shade darker on her head, with yellow-brown wings.

The rose-red male flew to the branch beside her and presented her with an insect in his bill, which she took and ate. He flew away, and after only a few seconds she followed him, and I could hear their pit-oo calls again. One of the nicest, most peaceful and pleasant sounds on a warm summer-like morning.


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