Eggs in the Phoebe Nest

Update: Under the blue divider is the original post about our new Phoebe neighbors. They built a nest under our deck as pictured at the end of the original post. I noticed one of the birds sitting on the nest a few days ago and wondered if there was a way to see the eggs. Seen from above on the deck, the nest is under the X. I quietly bent down and was able to barely see through the 1/4″ crack to the nest.

I placed my phone over the crack and turned on the camera. The lens is tiny and was able to peer through to the nest. What a pleasant surprise.

Original: 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.


11 thoughts on “Eggs in the Phoebe Nest

  1. The Belmont Rooster

    What an interesting nest! All About Birds is a very good website. I have tried capturing birds doing odd things and it takes a long time. The Yellowlegs on the pond are a good example. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Steve Gingold

    Nice, Jim. Cool observation station. 🙂
    We get a pair of Phoebes annually (occasionally they are a returning pair, I think) but they nest under the eaves of our shed which allows for no observation. I’ve wanted to cut a hole in the wall and install some one way glass but the space is so shallow that I wouldn’t be able to see over the edge of the nest so haven’t. I’ll just enjoy your view.

    1. Jim R Post author

      I’d like to widen the gap in the boards just a tiny bit. But, I also don’t want to disturb them. I’ll keep watching for you.


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