By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
On this morning’s bird walk at Ashland Nature Center, we came across a handsome male bird trying to attach a fancy looking handlebar moustache to his beak in order to impress the ladies. At least that’s what the scene looked like. In actuality, this Warbling Vireo was picking long strips of Tulip Poplar bark from a dead branch. After gathering a nice beakful of material, the vireo flew away to add the bark to its neatly woven nest.
A Warbling Vireo is by name a great singer, but by looks is not very fancy. Drab brownish gray on the back with a pale yellow chest, this bird blends in well with the canopy of the sycamore and ash trees where it is often found feeding and nesting. Most often your best look at a Warbling Vireo is glimpses of it belly as it hops around in the treetops. Today’s encounter with this particular vireo is an exception, as it hopped around on a branch at eye level at a distance of less than 20 feet from our group of birders. A great look at a unique bird!