Red-eye Vireos are quite common on PEI. You can hear them singing all summer long but you may never see one unless you go looking for that bird that never stops singing. They certainly don't stand out for their colourful plumage. It's a rather dull olive colour with a whitish belly. But, if the light catches the eye just right, which doesn't happen very often because they like to hang around in the broadleaf trees, wow, it truly is a beautiful red.
They are also known for their song. It's a rather endless tune that, for me is an iconic sound of walking trails in the summer. The common mnemonic is, "Where are you", "Here I am", but for me it sounds more like the bird is hold an entire conversation with itself. "What's for lunch?" "Bugs." "Again?" "Yes, again." "What's for supper?" "Bug." "Again?" "Yes, again." ...you get the idea. It will go on for hours.
They have an interesting nest. It hangs down from a thin branch and is very small, just a little larger than a golf ball, and quite flimsy. It's made out of tiny strips of bark, grass, and plant fibres. I found one just last week while taking a group of photographers around. It was hanging down from a branch right over the trail we were on. It was our best find of the day.
Text and Photos by Shirley Gallant