A Song for July 30

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All vireo species are about the same size and shape, but the same would not be said of their singing. Red-eyed Vireos produce short phrases at a high rate with immediate variety (i.e., each phrase is different from the preceding one). Several other species do the same, but at a slower rate. Each Warbling Vireo song is a string of short dissimilar notes, and these songs are also delivered with immediate variety. Bell's Vireos produce compact jumbles of complex notes, again with immediate variety. And then there is this species, the White-eyed Vireo, which sings its unique song with eventual variety. Individuals do have several song-types, but you have to wait a while to hear more than one type. I only heard the one type you find above.

Typical White-eyed Vireo songs begin with a sharp click. In today's example, it's so far out front that you would be forgiven for thinking it is not part of the song. But the repeating pattern shows that it is part of the song. Moreover, at a distance, it may be the only thing you hear.

This morning was pleasantly cool in the Lowcountry, but the birds were quiet. Finally, I found a patch of woods with several species vocalizing. This vireo sang about once a minute. I recorded one of those songs and played it back. He picked up his pace for 40 seconds, which you see here, then returned to the late summer pace I had happened upon. I hope he is none the worse for the artificial stimulation. He made my day.

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Nathan D. Pieplow. 2017. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Nathan D. Pieplow. 2019. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Donald Kroodsma. 2005. The Singing Life of Birds. Houghton Mifflin.