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Bird of the Week: Red-eyed Vireo

Described perfectly by some naturalists as “drab little birds with colorful songs,” vireos are birds you notice by ear more than eye. Well-camouflaged by virtue of being both mousey in color and size, secretive, and out of sight as they spend their lives high up in the forest branches, most vireos are easily overlooked most of the time. That is until one opens his beak and impresses the world with his voice. Melodious. Bubbly. Cheerful. Tireless. Repetitive. Unstoppable. A vireo male sings with a lovely set of high-pitched notes on constant replay. And of the six vireo species in Michigan- all of which are just seasonal residents in our state- the red-eyed vireo cannot be outdone for song duration. Singing his robin-like tune from high in the trees for literally hours, he also seems to be completely unphased by the heat of the day. Long after other birds have done for the day, the red-eyed vireo just keeps going. Quite possibly the only song you will hear in the woods on a sweltering summer afternoon, the music made by the red-eyed vireo will be hard not to hear once you notice it. In fact, it almost begs you to stop and search for the source. Click here for a sample of what to listen for.

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