(Empidonax virescens) Flycatcher family
Called also: SMALL GREEN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER; SMALL PEWEE
Length5.75 to 6 inches. A trifle smaller than the English sparrow.
MaleDull olive above. Two conspicuous yellowish wing-bars. Throat white, shading into pale yellow on breast. Light gray or white underneath. Upper part of bill black; lower mandible flesh-color. White eye-ring.
FemaleGreener above and more yellow below.
RangeFrom Canada to Mexico, Central America, and West Indies. Most common in south temperate latitudes. Winters in southerly limit of range.
MigrationsApril. September. Summer resident.
When all our northern landscape takes on the exquisite, soft green, gray, and yellow tints of early spring, this little flycatcher, in perfect color-harmony with the woods it darts among, comes out of the south. It might be a leaf that is being blown about, touched by the sunshine filtering through the trees, and partly shaded by the young foliage casting its first shadows.
Woodlands, through which small streams meander lazily, inviting swarms of insects to their boggy shores, make ideal hunting grounds for the Acadian flycatcher. It chooses a low rather than a high, conspicuous perch, that other members of its family invariably select; and from such a lookout it may be seen launching into the air after the passing gnatdarting downward, then suddenly mounting upward in its aerial hunt, the vigorous clicks of the beak as it closes over its tiny victims testifying to the bird’s unerring aim and its hearty appetite.
While perching, a constant tail-twitching is kept up; and a faint, fretful ” Tsbee-kee, tshee-kee” escapes the bird when inactively waiting for a dinner to heave in sight.
In the Middle Atlantic States its peeping sound and the clicking of its particolored bill are infrequently heard in the village streets in the autumn, when the shy and solitary birds are enticed from the deep woods by a prospect of a more plentiful diet of insects, attracted by the fruit in orchards and gardens.
Never far from the ground, on two or more parallel branches, the shallow, unsubstantial nest is laid. Some one has cleverly described it as ” a tuft of hay caught by the limb from a load driven under it,” but this description omits all mention of the quantities of blossoms that must be gathered to line the cradle for the tiny, pure white eggs.