Jun 08 2011
Surrounded by green, the warbling vireo is gray.
He has no bold face pattern, no wing bars, no striking color on his breast but his name, vireo, means “I am green.”
Vireo comes from the Latin word for green: virens. The other eastern members of this genus have olive-green backs.
Do you think the warbling vireo is dull? Not when he sings.
Unlike the greenish vireos this one has a peppy song with a complex rhythmic structure and continuously changing set of figure patterns.(*) He sings themes and variations all around his territory, even from the nest.
Birders have tried to describe his song with mnemonics. The classic descriptions are: “If I sees you, I will seize you, and I’ll squeeze you till you squirt!” or “Iggley, pigelly, wigelly, pig.”
But I think of it as: “If I see her I will squeeze her, I will squeeze her ’til she squeaks!”
Listen to him here.
His song is so fancy he doesn’t need to be green.
(photo by Kim Steininger)