A few weeks ago, I was wading up Blue Springs Creek (Crawford County) in search of warblers and other critters, including mink and otter. I expected to see some white-eyed vireos, one of my favorite little visitors to Missouri, but I never expected to find one in a nest.
I found the nest in the usual way, first spotting some movement near the ground and then staying on the bird until it returned to its new home. I never expected to find a clear shooting lane to the nest due to the surrounding brush, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a non-obtrusive spot with a clear path to the impressive work of architecture. I set my tripod up in the creek and watched as both the male and female put the finishing touches on their little cottage, often testing the bowl for a perfect fit, as shown in the featured image.
Recently, I returned to the nest after several inches of rain to see if it had been flooded out. I knew the creek had been quite high, and I wondered if the vireos had placed their nest on high enough ground. In the back of my mind, I had faith in the little vireos that instinct would have guided them build the nest on safe ground, even in the face of a flood, but I was a still a little worried.
Upon arrival, I found a lot of woody debris washed up onto the bank near the nest site and at first I couldn’t find the nest itself. After a few minutes I made out the familiar shape of the tiny nest, none the worse for wear, with one of the vireos barely poking its head over the edge. I knew it was too early for babies so I didn’t stick around to capture any new images. On the way out, I scolded myself for not having fully trusted the vireos to have enough sense to build the nest high enough above the creek.
When I return to the site in a few weeks, I hope to find the vireos feeding their babies from the edge of the nest. Perhaps the brush will be blocking my shooting lane by that time, or maybe a predator or strong storm will have rendered an untimely end to the burgeoning vireo family. But I have reason to be optimistic that all will be well and I’ll be sharing a story about these nesting white-eyed vireos again. Time will tell.
Thanks for looking,