It’s a showstopper when you see it in the trees.
A bird with a name you might not know, all red with black wings. And it does something strange this time of year. It becomes olive drab. Just as green leaves are turning red, the “scarlet tanager” molts from red to green. No one knows why. Then it flies away, to come back in spring. But more about that in a moment.
What’s worth musing about is that something once bright can turn dreary. As we slog through some challenging times, social distancing, masks, remote school and work, we might think “c’mon, the colorful life we took for granted has turned into something else. What’s the deal?”
Well, just watch. In the spring, scarlet tanagers return. Bright red again. Ready for a good time.
A natural reminder that things change.
Sometimes they get dreary, but count on them to change again, and come back just fine. Meanwhile, we gotta go with the flow, stay safe, patient, and maybe do a little bird watching.
It’s never just about birds, but it’s always about watching.
This column was adapted by Mike Lubow from his book: Wild Notes: Observations over time about birds and other fleeting things. Available on amazon.com.