Blue-headed Vireo

This morning, another cold and clear day just before sunrise, another birdsong woke me just as quickly and happily as the Black-and-white Warbler two days ago. This one was the very different song of a Blue-headed Vireo, a series of slow, sweet phrases, repeated over and over again. It came close and stayed nearby for several minutes, as other birds sang in the background. I listened, following the song as moved rather slowly from tree to tree around the edge of our back yard. I could only imagine its sleek, round blue-gray head with a bold white pattern like spectacles that circle the eyes. Its back is greenish, its throat and breast clean white, with a wash of yellow along the sides. It moves as it sings – deliberately, with pauses – searching the branches for insects, spiders and other small prey.  

This trio of early migrants here – Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo – usually all arrive around the same time – mid March if not earlier. As their songs join the songs of our year-round resident birds and winter birds, they are like the earliest spring flowers, welcome signs of a new season of life and color. 

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