Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Partners in Flight estimates that about 990,000 Red-eyed Vireos breed in Ohio. The amount of caterpillars the collective population harvests in a day is staggering, almost impossible to fathom. You can do the math. If each vireo captures a caterpillar, say, every ten minutes, and for at least 12 hours a day, well, that's a TON of little wriggling bags of goo in just one day. It serves to reinforce just how important caterpillars are to the ecology of forests.
Our Red-eyed Vireos don't remain in Ohio year-round, and if all goes well for the fledgling in my photos, it will find itself deep in South America within a few months. The Red-eyed Vireo is but a part of legions of Neotropical birds that are produced in Ohio's forests that go on to become important spokes in the wheel of tropical forest ecology. Birds, like no other group of animals, link the Americas in a fantastic web of interwoven ecological dependence.