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Monday, May 14, 2012

A White-eyed Vireo without White Eyes

It is always fun discovering and learning interesting facts about birds. The youngster pictured below came bouncing through the shrubby growth of a Pineywoods forest late one Saturday afternoon. It was not immediately recognizable and took a moment to reaize its identity. It was a Juvenile White-eyed Vireo.

You might be thinking,"Hold on. If this bird is a White-eyed Vireo then where are its white eyes?" It just so happens the iris of the developing WEVI youngster is grayish in appearance and transforms from gray to white maybe by February of the next spring, thus no white eyes.. Cool, huh?

Now you might be thinking, "Does the same principle regarding iris color for the WEVI also apply to a Red-eyd Vireo?" It just so happens Donna Dittmann and Steve Cardiff wrote, "Juveniles of the 'red-eyed' species start off with brown eyes, which gradually turn to red anytime from late summer into fall and early winter." in their article "Let's take another look: Vireos Part I 'large, eye-lined' species" in the LOS Newsletter No. 195. So, if you were thinking the same principle regarding iris color for the WEVI applies to the REVI then you are spot on !

Left-Click on Image to Enlarge and Better See the Iris Color

Note the white iris on an adult WEVI. He looks a bit spooky doesn't he?

This Pine Warbler was an appropriate bird to find in the Pine Forest.

1 comment:

  1. Eye color is actually how banders tell if a WEVI is a hatch year bird. Pretty neat!