|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – May 2008
Of all the North American bird species, few stand out more than this trio of flyers. Their vivid plumage makes them some of the easiest springtime wildlife to spot.
The tropical reds and yellows that adorn males arise from pigments in the beetles and caterpillars they consume. Females are less brilliant, but still exhibit a pale yellow body and brown wings. Found in the West from southeastern Alaska to Mexico, they migrate as far south as Costa Rica in the winter. Despite their bright plumage, slow-moving tanagers are difficult to spot: They spend much of their time in the tops of conifers, where they build flimsy, shallow nests and forage for berries and insects.