My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus

The Philadelphia vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) is a small North American songbird in the vireo family (Vireonidae).

Standard Measurements

Length 4.5–5 in (110–130 mm)
Weight 12 g (0.42 oz)
Wingspan 8 in (200 mm)
Wing 65.4–70 mm (2.57–2.76 in)
Tail 45–52 mm (1.8–2.0 in)
Culmen 9–11 mm (0.35–0.43 in)
Tarsus 16–17 mm (0.63–0.67 in)

Their breeding habitat is the edges of deciduous and mixed woods across Canada. They make a basket-shaped cup nest in a fork of a tree branch, usually placed relatively high. The female lays 3 to 5 lightly spotted white eggs. Incubation, by both parents, lasts up to 14 days.

These birds migrate to Mexico and Central America. This vireo is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. They are unlikely to visit Philadelphia, except in migration.

They forage for insects in trees, sometimes hovering or flying to catch insects in flight. They also eat berries, especially before migration.

The songs and calls of Philadelphia vireo are three to five notes, “weeezh wheeze weeezh”, very similar to those of the red-eyed vireo.

On to my photos:

These photos were shot in Creekside Park, near my apartment during the fall of 2014.

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus


Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo philadelphicus

While I was only able to nab two photos of this species, at least they were good enough to make a positive ID.

This is number 189 in my photo life list, only 161 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!



17 responses

  1. A bird that is quite hard to spot I should think.

    March 13, 2016 at 4:32 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! Most small birds are hard to spot, but I’m up to the challenge. 😉

      March 13, 2016 at 10:19 am

  2. What a sweet little bird and a tricky one to capture. They look similar to one here that we call “silver eyes”. 🙂

    March 13, 2016 at 5:03 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! I’m looking forward to seeing one of the silver eyes on your blog so that I can see the similarities. 😉

      March 13, 2016 at 10:20 am

      • It may be a while before I’m skilled enough to share a non-blurry shot of them! I’ll try though. 🙂

        March 13, 2016 at 5:57 pm

  3. Adorbs!!! Any idea why it’s called the Philadelphia? (As a former Philly gal, had to ask!) 🙂

    March 13, 2016 at 6:37 am

    • Thank you Lori! I have no idea, nor could I find out through research, why it got the name Philadelphia.

      March 13, 2016 at 10:21 am

  4. To have captured two excellent shots of this bird is quite an achievement. Number 189 should be boldfaced in your list. 🙂

    March 13, 2016 at 7:32 am

    • Thank you very much!

      March 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

  5. This looks like a tiny little thing, barely bigger than a leaf.

    March 13, 2016 at 9:02 am

    • Thanks Allen! There about the size of a chickadee, maybe a little chunkier.

      March 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

  6. I love the subtle colouring of this bird. Well done again Jerry!

    March 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      March 14, 2016 at 1:15 am

  7. Beautiful captures, Jerry! Well done! The All About Birds site at Cornell shows them into western Canada, but not down into the Pacific Northwest where I am. Nice to see them in photos. Handsome little birds.

    March 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! I’d keep an eye out for these in the spring or fall, they have to get down south one way or another. They don’t breed here in Michigan either, I caught this one during migration.

      March 14, 2016 at 10:40 pm

  8. So many birds, so little time. I love that you are plowing your way through your life list. It’s great to have a project like this.

    March 14, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    • Thank you very much Judy! I know, many of the species are boring, who cares about a Philadelphia vireo? But for me, it keeps things interesting as I’m plodding along looking for things to photograph.

      March 14, 2016 at 11:52 pm