Monday, October 29, 2012

White-eyed Vireo

Due to their tangled, brushy habitat, White-eyed Vireos, like the one in the top photo from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, are often easier to hear than to see. Although their songs are complex and variable, if you know the call, this vireo can be easily recognized (call used with permission of Thayer Birding Software). The bottom photo is of a White-eyed Vireo in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The White-eyed Vireo is rare anywhere in the state, and this photo was the first record of the species in far western South Dakota.

Even where they are common, populations of White-eyed Vireos depend on dense scrublands. A problem is that such habitat is rarely protected. These vireos are also heavily parasitized by cowbirds. Almost half of all vireo nests contain cowbird eggs and, when they do, the young White-eyed Vireos do not survive (Hopp et al. 1995).

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