Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak – and a Robin’s Song

Many other birds also were singing in and after the rain, including a White-eyed Vireo in shrubs near the edge of the woods, and a Red-eyed Vireo in trees around the house and in the woods, both recent spring arrivals. I first heard the chick-perchickoree-chick calls of two White-eyed Vireos in the old field just outside our subdivision last Thursday, April 9, and first heard and saw a Red-eyed Vireo here in our yard the following day, April 10. It sang its musical four-part song a little more slowly and deliberately than usual, but very clearly, as it moved through the trees. I think it had been singing in the woods for a couple of days, but this was the first time it came close enough for me to see its slim shape, white eye-stripe and dark cap.

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens, Cardinals, Titmice, Chickadees, Chipping Sparrows, Phoebes, a Mockingbird, Towhee, Downy Woodpecker, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers sang or called. A Red-shouldered Hawk cried from beyond the trees in the east, its usual territory. A Robin’s song was the first thing I heard this morning when I awoke, against the background music of the rain, and it’s continued to sing enthusiastically all day.

Maybe the most surprising sounds I heard this morning were the zhrreeee calls and chirpy squabbling of about a dozen Pine Siskins that are still here. Along with Goldfinches, several Siskins came to both feeders and chirped and sang high up in the trees.

A male Blue Grosbeak that flew by from the edge of the woods and disappeared around the corner of the house was another surprise, and it was gone so quickly, I could barely trust my eyes, especially in the gray, murky light. But its very dark blue coloring with rusty wings, together with its overall shape and size looked pretty familiar.

So the busiest time of the spring migration season seems to have arrived. Almost every day right now brings something new.


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