Saturday, June 23, 2012

Warbling and Red Eyed Vireos in Northern Illinois

One of many Warbling Vireos making themselves known in the Rockford, IL. area this Spring; 5/5/2012.
Vireos are a weak species on my Life List, probably because it is a species that I am not totally confident with my ID skills - but not the Warbling Vireo (Above). These guys are easy to recognize with their rambling run-on song. Warbling Vireos arrived in Northern Illinois in early May, and it seems all of them stayed here as they seemed to be every place I have birded. In the Summer months, Warbling Vireos are common throughout much of the U.S. save the Southeast corner (Florida, Georgis, Alabama, and the Carolinas) and most of Texas and Louisiana. They will also stretch their Summer range well into most of Western Canada and along the Great Lakes. In the Winter you can find them in parts of Mexico and Central America.
A Red-eyed Vireo in its typical 'high in the upper branches' position, Rock Cut State Park; 5/12/2012.
Another Vireo that is common in our area is the Red-eyed Vireo (Above), which arrived in the Rockford area in Mid May. I have learned to recognize this vireo's song this Spring, a song which is a rather non-descript series of  three syllable phrases and not a strikingly catchy tune. But once I learned to recognize their song high in the upper branches of large trees, they became much easier to find. Before this, I always saw them high above me and almost always only saw their underbellies; therefore, it was hard to ID. But now that I know their song, I find them all the time.
A White-eyed Vireo in its usual spot in Espenscheid Forest Preserve for the past couple of years - but has been absent this year; 5/30/2011.
The only other Vireo that I have had luck with identification is the White-eyed Vireo, but I have yet to see or hear any this Spring / Summer. I've noted that other Norther Illinois birders have not been avidly reporting White-eyes either. Their song is more rythmic than the Red-eyes, and is easier for me to recognize.
There are five Vireos that call Northern Illinois their Summer home (and another two migrating through), and I have only 3 on my Life List. So one of my goals for this year and subsequent years is to do a better job at finding and recognizing Vireos.

No comments: