Researchers confirm a western Pa. birdwatcher’s discovery: a new songbird hybrid

Read the full story from WESA.

Penn State researchers have identified a rare hybrid of two western Pennsylvania songbirds.

The bird is a combination of the rose-breasted grosbeak and brightly-colored scarlet tanager. Stephen Gosser—a self-described “diehard birder”— spotted it in Lawrence County, along the Commonwealth’s western edge, in June 2020.

But while the rose-breasted grosbeak tends to nest along the open edges of woodlands, tanagers prefer mature forest canopies. Scientists consider the two species highly divergent; they last shared a common ancestor over 10 million years ago.

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