Summer Tanager: Large tanager, dark-red overall with a large, pale gray bill. Legs and feet are gray. It is the only entirely red bird in North America. It specializes in eating bees and wasps, which is why it is also known as the bee bird. Swift direct flight with quick wing strokes.
Range and Habitat
Summer Tanager: Breeds from southern California, Nevada, Nebraska, and New Jersey, south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico. Spends winters in tropics. Prefers open oak, hickory, and mixed oak-pine woodlands; also found in parks, orchards, and along roadsides.
The Summer Tanager’s scientific name basically translates to "a small red bird".
Birds in the east usually build nests so flimsy and ragged, the eggs can be seen through the bottom, while the nests of western birds are sturdy and well-constructed.
It catches a bee in flight and kills it by beating it against a branch. Before eating it, the tanager removes the stinger by rubbing it on a branch.
A group of tanagers are collectively known as a "season" of tanagers.
The Summer Tanager is a medium-sized songbird that may be a relative to cardinals. Their preferred breeding habitats include open but wooded areas, including oak forests throughout the United States. During winter months, the Summer Tanager migrates south to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. This bird is rarely seen in Western Europe as well. Food is foraged high in the trees, and insects are also caught in-flight. Diets may also include bees, wasps and berries. Nests are built in a cup shape on horizontal tree branches. The conservation rating for the Summer Tanager is Least Concern.