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Eastern Phoebe

The Eastern Phoebe, a member of the flycatcher family, is one of the earliest nesting songbirds to return to New England after spending the winter in southeastern United States.  It is easily identified from its perch, where it typically wags its tail up and down repeatedly while waiting for an insect to fly by.  The Eastern Phoebe is the first bird ever banded in North America – in 1804 John James Audubon tied a small circle of silver thread around the legs of phoebe nestlings and documented their return in successive years.

6 responses

  1. How beautiful!

    April 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

  2. Susan in NH

    One of my absolute favorites!

    April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

  3. As always, a lovely photo!
    I’ll reveal my ignorance: Is this the bird I hear saying, “Phoe-beee”? It seems likely, but I think I’ve also heard that chickadees say this, as their summer call. I’d love to know more about which birds are making the chorus I hear at this time of year.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  4. As always, a lovely photo!
    Now I’ll reveal my ignorance: Is this the bird whose call is “Phoeee-beee”? I assume it is, but I’ve also heard that this is the summer call of chickadees, so I’d love to know. I’d like to be able to put faces to some of the voices I hear in the springtime chorus outside. Thanks!

    April 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    • You’re absolutely right! The raspy “fee -bee” is the Eastern Phoebe’s song. A chickadee’s breeding song is similar, in that it is two syllables, but more of a clear, whistle than the phoebe’s relatively harsh song.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

  5. Muffin Bushueff

    What timing! Saturday morning an Eastern Phoebe briefly, very briefly touched down on a cherry tree branch close to the house. This is in Sunapee.

    April 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

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