Daily Bird nesting season special: Red-eyed Vireo
by Michael Aurelia, former member of the Connecticut Audubon Society Board of Directors
The Red-Eyed Vireo is widely distributed throughout Connecticut wherever forested habitats are present. This bird prefers to forage and nest in deciduous forests and is a very successful breeder throughout the state. A chunky bird, the Red-Eyed Vireo has an angular head, thick neck with a long thick bill with a hook at the end. It is a “warbler like” bird.
Its song can be heard as “here I am, in the tree, look up, at the top,” and the singing can continue for quite a while. This time of the year the Red-Eyed Vireo is not difficult to find in the right habitat.
Red-Eyed Vireos are olive green with a white belly and eyebrow and a dark stripe through the eye. They also have a gray cap but the red eye is frequently difficult to see.
It can be found in almost any type of broad-leafed forested habitat. The bird can be difficult to see because it is usually searching for caterpillars in the tops of trees after leaf-out. But if it’s there, you will hear it.
Again, because it is a tireless songster you will usually hear the bird before you see it.
The Red-Eyed Vireo’s status in Connecticut can be described as stable. As forest habitat returned to Connecticut over the last century, the bird’s numbers increased. There may have been some decline in populations as forests have become more fragmented in recent years, however.
On the national level the IUCN indicates the Red-Eyed Vireos status is of Least Concern and the population trend is increasing.