Documentation of Scarlet Tanager

Observer Information

Reporter:  Coen Dexter  1959 Golf Course Lane,   Cortez, CO  81321
Other Observers:  Rich Levad, Jackson Trappett, Dave Trappet, and Diane Trappett

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Scarlet Tanager
First Date/Time:  11/1/1996 4:10:00 PM
Last Date/Time:  11/13/1996 4:05:00 PM
Duration (total time in view):  45 minutes
County:  Mesa
Specific Location:  Grand Junction
Number:  1
Age:  Adult
Sex:  Female
Plumage:  Non-breeding


Vineyard near private home

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  10 by 42 binoculars (swarovski)
Distance:  15 feet
Light:  sun behind us with clear skys

Description of the Bird

My student, Jackson Trappett, told me about a green bird that was eating dried grapes in his back yard. I told him it was likely a Green-tailed Towhee. His dad, Dave "a birder", said no, and it was likely a tanager. So after school Rich Levad and I drove over to check out the bird. The bird, a size smaller than the robins that were also eating the grapes, was easy to observe. The tanager was light green on the back from head to tail and the under parts were yellow green. The tanager bill was very light yellow. There was a complete lack of wing-bars and the wings were slightly darker, when compared to the adjacent plumage. From every indication it was a either a first fall or adult female Scarlet Tanager.
Birds of Western Colorado Plateau and Mesa County on page 162 has the record as does Colorado Birds, Vol, 31 No. 2, April 1997, page 72. The date in the journal should be 1-3 November and not 11-13 November.

Similar Species Discussion

Western Tanager has quite noticable yellow wing-bars. Summer Tanager has quite a heavy bill and lack the green back coloration that this bird. Hepatic Tanager has a dark brown bill.

Resources Used

It the time of observation we had National Geographic and since then we looked at many other birding sources.

Previous Experience

I have had a lot of experience with all North American species of tanagers including Flame-colored Tanger.


Notes made DURING observation

Materials Available


No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

3/27/2020 5:32:00 PM

Location Map

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