Vireo Nest

Red-eyed Vireo Nest

This is the nest of a Red-eyed Vireo, a fairly common bird in Minnesota. This nest is located at Handberg’s Marine in Crane Lake and is right next to a busy walkway. The nest is only about 6 feet off the ground in some young Birch tree saplings.

The other morning I walked by these bushes and could hear a couple of birds chipping and making funny wheezing noises. I thought that there were probably young birds in the bushes so I looked closer and that is when I found the nest. I couldn’t believe that I had walked by here numerous times and had never seen it. Upon further investigation I found one young bird in the nest and another young fledgling on a branch just a little ways away. The two young birds were calling back and forth to each other. Young birds are just too inexperienced to realize that they’re making a racket and drawing attention to themselves. I didn’t have my camera with me and I knew that if I came back later to get a photograph that the young birds would be long gone they were that close to leaving the nest. So, of course later that afternoon when I had my camera the nest was empty and the youngsters had flown the coop!

But this is kind of an interesting lesson, we have two Vireos up here that are very similar. The Red-eyed Vireo, which is the common bird, and then we have the PHILADELPHIA VIREO, which is a specialty in our area. The song of the two birds are almost identical. There are birders that can recognize the two songs, but it is really difficult. They say the Philadelphia Vireo’s song is higher and thinner and there are pauses in between the phrases. The Red-eyed Vireo sings much faster, but then again they can also sing slower, the unique part of their song is that they can throw in some phrases that are slightly different. OK are you confused yet? The Philadelphia Vireo has a wash of yellow on its breast and is slightly smaller than the Red-eyed, and the Philadelphia Vireo does not have a red eye! Both birds forage high up in the canopy of trees, but the difference is this: The R-E Vireo builds their nest low – usually around 6 feet, while the Philadelphia Vireo builds their nest very high up in the tree. Sooooo, I think I know for sure that the nest was of a Red-eyed Vireo.

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