This little fellow is fluttering in distress on my back porch. He doesn’t appear to be injured, but his behavior is that of a bird that’s been hurt – tolerating people walking close by, and flat out panting in fear.

He’s small – smaller than a house sparrow, and distinctly greenish above. The eye stripe and the crown are sharply defined gray with a faint black line around it. The eye is brown, and the bill is something like a sparrow or tiny vireo. And the feet are sort of blueish.


We’ve got no place to bring him, nor do we wish to cause further harm, so we’re leaving him alone for now. But I’ve not seen a bird like this around here before. For the record, we’re in the Metro Boston area, a close-in suburb to the northwest; inside Route 128.

Leafing through bird books and on-line references, but I don’t see anything that has the gray hat and mask, brown eye, olive upper part and cream breast. But this might be an immature bird not yet displaying its final colors. Any birders have an idea on what our little refugee might be?


Special thanks to Sally, who identified our little flutterer as a Philadelphia Vireo. We kept watch against cats (from a distance), but otherwise didn’t bother him or go near him. About an hour and a half after he was first spotted on the ground he shook out his wings and zipped up into the trees. Given the range reported on the bird ID link page Sally provided, he’s just passing through on his way down to the tropics somewhere. I hope he makes it.

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One response

  1. He looks like this guy: http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/693/overview/Philadelphia_Vireo.aspx

    If you can get close without really upsetting him, put him in something like a shoebox with a towel in the bottom. Put the (non-airtight!) lid on and leave him somewhere warm and quiet so he can compose himself. If he’s going to recover he should be perky and ready to fly after a couple of hours. It works wonders with ruffled birds that the cats bring in.

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