Monday, April 9, 2012

Migrant of the Week 4/8--4/14 2012

I recently came up with an idea to write a post every week during Spring Migration (assuming I remember) about an interesting migrant. It'll be a different one each time. I'm a little late with this one (as it's Monday already), but as they say, better late than never. So without further delay, the Migrant of the Week 4/8--4/14 2012 is....

The Red-eyed Vireo!
I love this bird :).

Random Cool Facts:

The Red-eyed Vireo is a delightful little bird in my opinion. It is one of the first vireos to return to its breeding grounds in the spring.  It is one of the most common birds in eastern forests of the US, and is often heard rather than seen. They usually sticks to the tree-tops, foraging for insects. They nest rather low, however, and are a popular host for Brown-headed Cowbirds. Red-eyes grow up to 5.1 inches long, and way only 0.4-0.9 ounces. Red-eyed Vireos living year-round in South America may be a separate species.


Red-eyed Vireos are quirky little birds with bright red eyes (as their name suggests), a dark eyestripe, an olive-green back, whitish underparts, and an attitude. They are overall a small, drab bird, but still very enjoyable to chase after on sunny mornings, I've found. Immatures have brown eyes and yellow underparts. The adults' other field marks include a gray to smoky blue crown, and a white supercillium (which, in case you didn't know, is just a fancy way of saying "eyebrow".)


Red-eyed Vireos have a very distinctive song, which sounds like "see me; here I am; way up; in a tree". They will sing this for hours without a break. The song is similar to the Blue-headed and Yellow-throated Vireos', but is much faster. to listen to a recording, go to: Their call is a catbird-like "myaah".


The Red-eyed Vireo builds its nest rather low for a bird that spends most of its time in the tree-tops. As I said before, they are a popular host for Brown-headed Cowbirds. The female builds a cup nest of bark, grass, spider webs, and other plant material. She usually lays 3-5 eggs. The male and the female feed the young, who leave the nest after about 12 days. They occasionally raise 2 broods in a season, but just 1 is more common.

Red-eyed Vireos are very, very interesting birds, and I think they deserve the title of Migrant of the Week.

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