Eastern Phoebe

We enjoy the usual avian visitors to the woods behind our house. There are cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, flickers, etc. who are year-round residents. Others are passing through during migration in fall and spring. This year, we have the nest of an Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe under our deck for the first time. We hope it proves to be a good location for them so we can monitor the progress of their young.

See the thread or cobweb across the side of the head.

The All About Birds site describes the nest is usually several feet above ground in an overhang protected from the elements and predators. That description fits the location of their nest perfectly as you can see below.

The nest is made of mud, moss, and leaves mixed with a variety of other found materials. This closeup shows the result of her work. The male doesn’t build the nest.

Someone asked about the characteristic tail wag. I tried to capture it in video. The times I had a camera ready, the Phoebes didn’t wag their tails. This one preened for a long time.

At other times, I didn’t have the camera ready and it wagged the tail. This short clip finally captured some tail wags. It sits watching for insects, then darts out to grab it, and flies back to perch.  This link to All About Birds shows a good example.


10 thoughts on “Eastern Phoebe

  1. Anne Brannigan

    That’s s lovely photo, I’m in Wales st the moment in a caravan. I can hear a woodpecker in the woods and a cuckoo- you are lucky to see those though- very shy birds. Guess you have to be sneaky to lay eggs in other birds nests.

      1. Anne Brannigan

        Everyone comments here when they hear their first cuckoo of the year as it’s one of the first signs of springs. They are a lovely colour and with such a distinctive song. Definitely pesky though


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