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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin

FAMILY VIREONIDAE

Vireos


White-eyed Vireo -- Bell's Vireo -- Yellow-throated Vireo -- Solitary Vireo -- Red-eyed Vireo -- Philadelphia Vireo -- Warbling Vireo

White-eyed Vireo ( Vireo griseus)

Status: Accidental.

Record: An adult white-eyed vireo was trapped and banded at the Warner Nature Center, Washington County, on 3 May 1977 (Wojahn 1977).


Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii)

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident.

Records: Five records exist during 13 May to 7 September: Polk County, 18 May 1974; Chisago County, 7 September 1968; and St. Croix County, 13 May 1964, 17 June to 21 July 1977, and 3 July 1963. The 1977 St. Croix County record may have been a breeding pair. One male was observed almost daily on territory 5.6 km east of New Richmond. The male was heard singing and appeared to be defending a breeding territory. Attempts to locate a nest or a mated female failed.

Habitat: The 1977 observation was of a bird in second-growth Lowland Deciduous Forest along the Willow River.


Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)

Status:Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 May and the Northern Highland 10-15 May and are well distributed 15-25 May. Fall migration begins about 15 August. Peak movements occur 25 August to 10 September and departure 20-25 September.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and local in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) recorded this species nesting at St. Croix Falls, Polk County; however, he failed to obtain records elsewhere in northwestern Wisconsin. Bernard (1967) considered this vireo an "uncommon to rare summer resident" in Douglas County. Nesting records have been obtained from Solon Springs, which is at the northern limit of their range in Wisconsin. There are several nest records for Chisago and Pine counties, the farthest north at St. Croix State Park, Pine County (Sparkes 1953). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) indicate that the breeding population is fairly uniform throughout the Valley. Goddard reported a density of 2.9 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County.

Habitat: A characteristic breeding bird of mature deciduous forests. During the breeding season, this species is most commonly found in Northern Hardwood Forest and Lowland Deciduous Forest. Occasional breeding pairs are recorded in residential habitats and in Lowland Coniferous Forest.


Solitary Vireo (Vireo solitarius)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Uncommon to fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May, reaching the Northern Highland by 10 May. Peak spring migration occurs 10-20 May and departure from nonbreeding areas is by 30 May. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland in mid-August. The first migrants reach other regions by 25 August. Peak fall migration occurs 10-20 September and departure by 30 September (latest-27 October 1970, Pine County).

Table 6. Mean number of vireos and warblers recorded on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey transects, 1966-78.

 
Western Upland
Central Plain
Northern Highland
Species
Hudson
Dresser
Loraine
Union
Minong
Vireos
Yellow-throated
1.2
1.7
2.8
3.8
2.0
Solitary
0.0
0.0
0.2
0.0
1.2
Red-eyed
3.6
6.6
21.3
16.1
41.2
Warbling
6.1
13.1
10.7
3.8
5.4
Warblers
Black-and-white
0.0
<0.1
1.3
<0.1
6.9
Blue-winged
<0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Golden-winged
0.0
0.3
5.1
0.0
2.5
Nashville
0.0
<0.1
1.4
1.7
20.2
Yellow
2.5
5.8
21.9
1.6
8.0
Magnolia
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
<0.1
Cape May
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
<0.1
Yellow-rumped
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.2
1.9
Black-throated green
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.6
Blackburnian
0.0
0.0
0.0
<0.1
0.2
Chestnut-sided
0.3
0.2
5.2
3.9
29.8
Pine
0.0
0.0
0.3
0.4
3.8
Ovenbird
0.0
0.5
4.7
23.7
19.0
Common yellowthroat
7.9
12.6
36.2
14.6
36.2
Mourning
0.0
<0.1
1.2
<0.1
6.3
Connecticut
0.0
0.0
0.0
1.7
2.7
Canada
0.0
0.0
<0.1
0.0
1.7
American redstart
0.0
0.6
5.2
0.3
7.9

Nesting Season Distribution: Documented evidence of nesting by this vireo exists only for Douglas County, where I observed an adult incubating on 11 June 1977. This bird was found along the St. Croix River about 6.4 km west of Gordon, Wisconsin. Although there is considerable evidence of nesting in Burnett and Pine counties, neither nests or young have been observed. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) also suggest that nesting is primarily restricted to the Northern Highland.

Habitat: Solitary vireos are characteristic of Lowland Coniferous Forest. Vegetation associated with the Douglas County nest site was Lowland Coniferous Forest dominated by black spruce and white cedar adjacent to the St. Croix River. Additional observations within the breeding range occur in similar habitat or in Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs.


Red-eyed Vireo ( Vireo olivaceus)

Status:Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 May, reaching the Northern Highland by 20 May. The peak of migration occurs 20 May to 5 June. Fall migration begins 20-25 August. Peak abundance occurs 10-15 September and departure by 5 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western Upland, common to locally abundant in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) reported this vireo to be among the 10 most abundant breeding birds in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Mean density in that area was 25.3 pairs per 40 ha. Analysis of BBS data (Table 6) indicates a gradation in abundance moving northward through the Valley. Documented nesting records exist for Polk, St. Croix, and Washington counties and there is evidence of nesting in the other counties.

Habitat: Red-eyed vireos are largely restricted to various deciduous forest types during migration and the nesting season. Although not characteristic of any one habitat type, their abundance is predictable when compared among geomorphic regions.

In the Western Upland, highest breeding densities occur in mature Lowland Deciduous Forest and mature Southern Deciduous Forest. In the Central Plain, breeding populations are greatest in mature Northern Hardwood Forest dominated by sugar maple and basswood. In the Northern Highland, populations are greatest in aspen forest and mature Northern Hardwood Forest.


Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)

Status: Regular migrant.

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant throughout the Valley. This is the latest arriving vireo; average first appearance is 15 May in the Western Upland. Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland about 20 May. Observations usually are of single birds or occasionally pairs; therefore, peak migration cannot be determined. Spring departure from the southern regions occurs by 30 May and from the Northern Highland by 5 June. Fall migrants arrive 10-15 September. This species is most frequently encountered 15-25 September and departs from 30 September to 5 October (latest-29 October 1970, Washington County).

Habitat: Philadelphia vireos use a variety of habitat types during migration; however, they are most regularly observed in medium-aged to mature Northern Hardwood Forest.


Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland; fairly common in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Fairly common fall migrant in the Western Upland, uncommon to rare elsewhere. The mean date of spring arrival in the Western Upland is 8 May (earliest-1 May 1976, St. Croix County) and migrants reach the Northern Highland 10-15 May. Peak migration through the Valley occurs 15-25 May. Fall migration begins 10-15 August. Peak fall migration occurs 20 August to 5 September and departure by 20 September. Peak fall migration in the Western Upland occurs 10-20 September and departure by 1 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common to locally common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare to locally uncommon in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) considered this vireo to be uncommon when compared with the red-eyed vireo in northwestern Wisconsin. Bernard (1967) described this species as a "regular but generally uncommon summer resident" in Douglas County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 6) indicate a fairly constant abundance throughout the Valley. Nesting has been documented in all counties.

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of mature Lowland Deciduous Forest. Highest breeding densities occur in that habitat and mature Northern Hardwood Forest. Other habitats frequently used include Southern Deciduous Forest, Deciduous Clear Cuts, and Residential Habitats.


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