Birds - Warbling Vireo
( Originally Published 1904 )
(Vireo gilvus) Vireo or Greenlet family
Length—5. 5 to 6 inches. A little smaller than the English spar-row.
Male and Female—Ashy olive-green above, with head and neck ash-colored. Dusky line over the eye. Underneath whitish, faintly washed with dull yellow, deepest on sides ; no bars on wings.
Range—North America, from Hudson Bay to Mexico.
Migrations—May. Late September or early October. Summer resident.
This musical little bird shows a curious preference for rows of trees in the village street or by the roadside, where he can be sure of an audience to listen to his rich, continuous warble. There is a mellowness about his voice, which rises loud, but not altogether cheerfully, above the bird chorus, as if he were a gifted but slightly disgruntled contralto. Too inconspicuously dressed, and usually too high in the tree-top to be identified without opera-glasses, we may easily mistake him by his voice for one of the warbler family, which is very closely allied to the vireos. Indeed, this warbling vireo seems to be the connecting link between them.
Morning and afternoon, but almost never in the evening, we may hear him rippling out song after song as he feeds on insects and berries about the garden. But this familiarity lasts only until nesting time, for off he goes with his little mate to some unfrequented lane near a wood until their family is reared, when, with a perceptibly happier strain in his voice, he once more haunts our garden and row of elms before taking the southern journey.