Birds – Yellow-throated Vireo

(Vireo flavifrons) Vireo or Greenlet family

Length—5.5 to 6 inches. A little smaller than the English sparrow.

Male and Female—Lemon-yellow on throat, upper breast ; line around the eye and forehead. Yellow, shading into olive-green, on head, back, and shoulders. Underneath white. Tail dark brownish, edged with white. Wings a lighter shade, with two white bands across, and some quills edged with white.

Range—North America, from Newfoundland to Gulf of Mexico, and westward to the Rockies. Winters in the tropics.

Migrations—May. September. Spring and autumn migrant; more rarely resident.

This is undoubtedly the beauty of the vireo family—a group of neat, active, stoutly built, and vigorous little birds of yellow, greenish, and white plumage; birds that love the trees, and whose feathers reflect the coloring of the leaves they hide, hunt, and nest among. ” We have no birds,” says Bradford Torrey, “so unsparing of their music: they sing from morning till night.”

The yellow-throated vireo partakes of all the family characteristics, but, in addition to these, it eclipses all its relatives in the brilliancy of its coloring and in the art of nest-building, which it has brought to a state of hopeless perfection. No envious bird need try to excel the exquisite finish of its workmanship. Happily, it has wit enough to build its pensile nest high above the reach of small boys, usually suspending it from a branch over-hanging running water that threatens too precipitous a bath to tempt the young climbers.

However common in the city parks and suburban gardens this bird may be during the migrations, it delights in a secluded retreat overgrown with tall trees and near a stream, such as is dear to the solitary vireo as well when the nesting time approaches. High up in the trees we hear its rather sad, persistent strain, that is more in harmony with the dim forest than with the gay flower garden, where, if the truth must be told, its song is both monotonous and depressing. Mr. Bicknell says it is the only vireo that sings as it flies.