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9/30/2015

White-eyed Vireo

The staff and volunteers at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS) were very excited earlier this week to have been able to band the second White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) captured at Tommy Thompson Park (TTP). The first was in 2004!

This exceptional bird can be recognized by its olive green plumage, white throat and yellow-green spectacles around its unique white eyes. This is a very rare find for TTPBRS, as the bulk of the breeding population for this species is in the United States.

White-eyed Vireos prefer brushy habitats with a dense understory layer, and that are generally located near a water source. With its mosaic of habitats on the Toronto waterfront, TTP offers an ideal stopover spot to rest and refuel during the long migrations to Central America.

The White-eyed Vireo’s short stout bill is well adapted to catch and eat its favourite food – insects! Caterpillars are often on the menu, but during non-breeding season the diet of the White-eyed Vireo wanders. An assortment of wild fruits will satisfy this vireo during winter months.

Their distinctive call has been described sounding like the words "quick, take me to the railroad, quick!" Like many migratory songbirds, White-eyed Vireos serve as predators, prey, and seed dispersants within the ecosystems they inhabit. Long-term trends analyzed from the data collected through TTPBRS help guide bird conservation efforts at local, provincial, national and even international levels. As the park’s habitats continue to mature, we hope to catch more glimpes of unfamiliar birds like the White-eyed Vireo and regularly see species that more typically migrate through Toronto.

To support the continued operation of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and bird conservation in Toronto and beyond please donate or become a member by visit the Living City Foundation page.

Thanksgiving weekend hours


Already looking forward to the Thanksgiving long weekend? So are we! The park will be open an extra day - perfect for fall migration birding.