White-eyed Vireo

Along the roadside by the old field, dandelions, daisies and some low, tiny, frail purple wildflowers bloomed, mixed with tall, pale grasses and the branching coral shadows of red sorrel. From deep in the messy thickets of privet that fill large parts of the field came the quick, percussive chick-per-chickory-chick song of a White-eyed Vireo.

I stood and listened for a while, hoping maybe it would come out into view – a small bird with olive-gray head and face and yellow spectacles around its eyes; white throat, pale yellow on the sides, with darker wings and two white wingbars. Most often it stays hidden deep in a thicket or shrubs, frequently singing its sharp-edged, prickly song. But it’s a lovely bird of gentle colors, and when it does come out – and sometimes it does, to sit on the edge of a bush – it can look like a soft flower blooming against the rough and tangled, weedy background of the scrubby habitat it prefers.

This time it stayed out of sight, but it was still good to hear its song again and know that it’s here – or at least passing through.

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