Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eastern Phoebe

Nesting under both the Log Lodge and Treetop Hideaway every year, the Phoebe is a great bird to watch.

The Eastern Phoebe is a plain but attractive bird roughly the size of a Purple Martin. Adult birds have dusky gray or grayish-brown upper parts with the crown, face, and tail contrastingly darker, sometimes appearing almost black. The under parts are off-white with pale dusky gray markings on the sides of the breast. Some wintering birds show a faint yellow to yellow-green wash on the belly and vent. Various sources describe these birds as juvenile, immature, fresh fall birds, or simply winter plumage (basic) adults.

The habitat in which you will find Eastern Phoebe is deciduous or mixed open woodlands. Mature and dense forested areas are less desirable. One can frequently find Eastern Phoebes in the general area of small ponds, ditches, wet open woodlands, or woodland edges. Here they often perch in a rather erect posture, frequently 3 to 15 feet off the ground and will fly out from the perch to capture insects (referred to as sallying or fly catching). They also consume small berries and fruit of various plants. While perched, Phoebes will often pump or wag their tail.

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