2014 49¢ Scarlet Tanager
The scarlet tanager is one of 10 different birds pictured on the Songbird stamps.
During the spring and summer months, there may be roughly two million scarlet tanagers nesting throughout the eastern United States. Despite its numbers and the unmistakable bright-red coat of the male during breeding season, birdwatchers are often hard-pressed to catch a glimpse of this songbird.
The scarlet tanager often makes its home in the uppermost branches of large, old trees in mature forests. It forages for insects high in the canopy. More often than not, the only indication of its presence is its song, often described as sounding like a robin with a sore throat.
The best opportunity to witness the bird in its bright-red plumage is during the long-distance spring migration northward, when it will stop to feed on the ground or in lower vegetation. The scarlet tanager may again be seen foraging during the fall migration back to northwestern South America, but it will no longer exhibit its namesake scarlet color. The male molts in the fall to reveal yellow-green feathers, making him more difficult to identify.
The scarlet tanager is often the target of the brown-headed cowbird. A female cowbird seen approaching will be driven off, but if she is able to sneak an egg into the nest, her hatchling will be raised by the tanager parents along with their own chicks.
Illustrator Robert Giusti painted the scarlet tanager and other songbirds in this set perched on a branch or fence post. His artwork can be seen on other stamps including: Tufted Puffins (#4737), Birds of Prey (4608-12), and a Cardinal (2480).
49¢ Scarlet Tanager, issued to satisfy the first-class mail rate.
Issue Date: April 5, 2014
City: Dallas TX, at the Trinity River Audubon Center
Printed By: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ¾