Blue-headed Vireo Release

Back in May, I reported on a Hooded Warbler that our rescue and recovery teams picked up after it hit a building in downtown Chicago. The Hooded Warbler was at that time the first of that species that we’d ever treated at Flint Creek Wildlife. Fortunately, like 90% of the head trauma cases triaged at our Northerly Island facility, the bird recovered and was released.

Many of you probably don’t realize how many different avian species we treat each year. At our Northerly Island facility alone, we treated 74 different species of birds in 2007. (The total species count between Northerly Island and Barrington was even higher.) Still, Chicago, which lies on a major international migratory flyway, provides respite to a wealth of bird life. And even though most species we treat aren’t a “first” for Flint Creek Wildlife, we are occasionally surprised.

So when a member of the public phoned saying that the injured bird with the amazing coloring must be an escaped pet bird, I responded that it was probably a migratory bird that hit a window. I admit that even I was surprised to see this little beauty with a blue head almost reminiscent of a parakeet.

The Blue-headed Vireo recovered from her head trauma and was released. We opted to videotape the release, but offer you the below still photo just before her release.

Blue-headed Vireos summer in the far northernmost reaches of Michigan and in much of Canada while they spend their winters in the southeastern United States. Cornell’s Department of Ornithology reports that they very infrequently collide with windows….perhaps this is why we’ve never before treated one. Let’s hope that they never again collide with windows in our great city!

Good luck, little Vireo.


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