Red-eyed Vireo

General description.

This vireo is called “The Preacher”, as he is more easily heard than seen, and his sermon is long winded lasting from dawn to dusk. He is one of the most common songbirds of eastern North American forests.

Juvenile appearance.

The young “Red-eyed Vireo” lacks the red eye of their parents; theirs are dark.

Breeding habits.

The breeding range of the Red-eyed is huge; vast broad-leaved forests from British Columbia to Nova Scotia and south to central Texas and Florida.

Calls or song.

Male “Red-eyed Vireos” may sing up to eighty-five brief songs per minute, even on hot days when other birds are silent. Both sexes use the species’ most common call, “myaah, meeyaen” or “ye-annnnnn”.

Population and distribution.

Even though cowbirds frequently deposit their eggs in the Red-eyed nest, leaving this sparrow-sized bird to rear an entire brood of cowbirds to the exclusion of its own, one reason the “Red-eyed Vireo” is so populous is its diet. This vireo eats about six parts animal matter to one part vegetable, supping on moths, caterpillars, beetles, flies and bugs, as well as berries and other fruit. It winters in South America.

Nesting habits.

The “Red-eyed Vireo” makes a pensile nest, finely wrought from bits of bark, grass and rootlets, which it tucks into the fork of a shrub or tree limb and secured with spider webs.
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