Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Red-eyed Vireo

On Sunday afternoon, my wife and I went for a walk as has been our habit of late. The walk is mostly to get out, get a little exercise and spend some time together, but I typically bring my camera along just in case. We usually don't see much as we typically go mid-afternoon when bird activity is at its slowest. No big deal as my wife isn't a birder, but she is starting to get a little interested since I typically point out birds as we walk.
Our favorite walks have been the loop around Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and Tryon Creek State Park, but this Sunday she wanted to do something different, so I suggested Wapato Access Greenway State Park on Sauvie Island.
As usual we didn't see a lot of birds, but we did hear quite a few. One in particular was fairly high on a branch and was singing up a storm. I wasn't sure what it was, finely deciding on a Warbling Vireo, but not totally convinced. I've started to carry an audio recorder with me and had it in my camera bag, so I decided to record the bird, hoping that it would help me determine its identity based on it's song.
I'm glad I did as when I compared the recording to those I found on the web, it was pretty obvious that what I saw was not a Warbling Vireo. The song I recorded was to broken up.  Warbling Vireos sing in much longer phrases. My recording was of 2 or 3 notes separated with a pause.
Press play to hear the recording I made of the Red-eyed Vireo:
So if it wasn't a Warbling Vireo, what was it? It certainly had the look of a Vireo. That's when I took a closer look at the photos I had taken. Not the best as the bird quite a ways off and I was shooting against a bright, hazy sky, but upon closer scrutiny, I could see there was a dark line through its eye and another dark line above the eye separated by white. That is a better fit for a Red-eyed Vireo. Zooming in, I could see a faint red coloring to the eye and listening to recording of Red-eyed Vireos, my recording was a much better match. 

The image above shows the darker, bluish-gray crown, outlined with darker lines above a whitish supercilium

My first Red-eyed Vireo sighting in Oregon.  Not a bad Sunday afternoon walk.

Here's the song of a bird I couldn't find up in the dense trees along the path.  If anyone knows what it is, let me know.


  1. That is a good spot for Red-eyed Vireo, as are other areas in the Columbia River bottom lands with big cottonwoods. You other singer is a Bewick's Wren.

  2. Awesome find, Rick! I have tried for them in that area last year before but no luck. Nice!!

    1. Thanks Jen. I'd have never seen it had it not been singing so loudly.