About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Photo Share: Gray bird with a black bill and yellow belly

The Eastern Phoebe’s song is one of the first indications that spring is returning. They are among the first migrants to return to their breeding grounds, sometimes as early as March.

Phoebes rarely occur in groups, and even mated pairs spend little time together. Males sing their two-parted, raspy "fee-bee” song throughout the spring and defend their territory aggressively from others Eastern Phoebes, but tolerate different bird species.

Once limited to nesting on natural cliffs or river banks, this adaptive bird has over the years found success in building mud nests on protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses.

They are a medium-sized flycatcher, with a dark grayish-brown head and back, and pale yellow to buff belly. Their most distinctive behavior is the "tail-wag". When landing on a perch, Eastern Phoebes sweep their tail widely up and down and then side to side as they look out for flying insects.

The Eastern Phoebe consumes mostly flying insects like wasps, ants, flies, midges, and cicadas. Flycatching is their main method of obtaining food, usually done from a perch less than 30 feet off the ground. They have also been observed eating fruit when insects are unavailable.

After they complete one to two broods they migrate back south in September–November, finding wintering habitat in the central latitudes of the United States south to Mexico.

Thank you Holly for sharing your photo! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com
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