This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the warbling vireo.
Flashy colors and fast movements won’t give this bird away. Instead, its plain brown upperparts and yellow-washed underparts camouflage this small bird in the upper canopy of deciduous trees where it spends its time. A dark line through the eye and pale line above it are identifying marks of this vireo.
When hunting for food, the warbling vireo moves slowly and deliberately along small tree branches to spot the caterpillars, moths, butterflies, other insects and spiders that it eats.
Hearing the fast, cheerful song of the warbling vireo will alert you to its presence. Males are highly territorial and spend much of the time singing during breeding season. These birds will even sing while incubating eggs on the nest. Warbling vireos are attentive parents, and when young are in the nest, one parent will always be with them.
Despite this, parasitism by cowbirds is a frequent problem and these vireos often raise cowbird chicks at the expense of their own.
The warbling vireo population is widespread throughout North America during its breeding season and spends from May through September here. Its winter range in western Mexico and northern Central America is much smaller in area and habitat conservation in these areas is vital to their success.
Websites including Audubon.org and Audubon’s free phone app are great resources for learning bird songs.
For more information on local bird-watching events, visit www.weminucheaudbon.org and www.faceboork.com/weminucheaudubon/.