(Entry #1) The summer tanager, piranga rubra is in the Cardinalidae family, which means, as you could most likely gather from the name, that they are related to cardinals. They are northern tanagers, in the genus Piranga.
The male is entirely red, but for on the wings, where it fades into a darkish black red. The juveniles are a tan color, with a yellowish color on their chest. Red can be observed in spots. Their wings are interesting, and can have tan, black, white, and red colors. The females are supposed to be generally the same color, yet usually without/with less red.
I rate summer tanagers as fairly common, yet not too common; they are probably noticed and identified a lot easier than something like a thrush, who looks simply like a brown bird.
After disappearing in winter, they begin to come back in late April to early May, in formidable numbers, with a rather distinctive song- although they may be hard to distinguish from a scarlet tanager. It is easy to track them by their song, I have done it many times. (Well, no; those were scarlet tanagers)
It is not that hard to tell tanagers apart. Only two tanagers are in Oklahoma; I think. I have never seen any other kinds. At least the ones that are in Oklahoma are either red or some other color. So the only other tanager that they would most likely be mistaken for would be a scarlet tanager. But there is a simple difference. Scarlet tanagers have totally black wings, while summer tanagers have somewhat dark red wings.
Also, another bird that they could be mistaken for is a cardinal. At a distance they are hard to tell apart. But closer, a cardinal has a crest, and if the crest is not apparent, then at least their black mask should be apparent. Another factor that I usually do not notice is that the cardinal has a red-orange beak, not a gray one.
As I mentioned earlier, a summer tanager may be hard to distinguish by song from a scarlet tanagers. But scarlet tanagers have a somewhat shorter song, with less distinctive notes, more monotone, but not quite.
They could also be hard to distinguish from an eastern bluebird, but they have an even shorter song than the scarlet tanagers. It can be very useful to be able to tell the difference between songs!
The summer tanager's song lasts from early May to early August, whereas I believe the scarlet tanager's lasts a shorter amount of time.
Their beak is brief and sharp, which suggests a nut-cracking or berry-eating bird, or else insect-eating. But I believe they are in the first and not the latter because they are related to cardinals and grosbeaks, which I hear are nut-cracking birds, and because they do not have the same whiskers as flycatchers; however, the beak is not shaped as triangularly as a grosbeak, but more like a little stabby spear, which I assume is more for berry-eating than nut-cracking.
The pictures on the top are Terrence and the ones below are Norman. The one below those is a juvenile
I like observing animals, especially birds. I also take care of the goats. I like goats.
My assistant photographer! She also takes care of African geese.
Another assistant photographer! She takes care of the rabbits, and the hutch is teeming with crawly things.