Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bird of the Week - The Black Phoebe

I looked out my kitchen window this morning and was treated to the site of an old friend, a little Black Phoebe.

Last year a little one would sit on a stake outside my kitchen window. It would quickly fly off only to return just as quickly. I remembered how he was out there in the same spot wagging his tail and dancing his little dance while waiting eagerly for the next insect to fly by.

The site of him also reminded me that I had started to study a bird a week last year. This has inspired me to endeavor to do so again starting with this species.
The Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) is distinctive tyrant flycatchers native to western North America, ranging from southwestern Oregon and California to west Texas and northern Mexico.
The Black Phoebe reaches a length of 5.75 in (14.6 cm), and unlike other phoebes, has highly contrasting plumage, dark brown or black on the head, breast, back, wings, and tail, and white on the underbelly and under the wings. This species also spends more time along streams and ponds than the other phoebe species, and is not migratory but stays in its range year-round. Like other phoebes, it continually wags its tail when perched and "sallies," waiting on an open perch such as a branch or fence post, flying out to catch an insect, and then returning to the same perch.

Silhouette of Fly Catchers:
Family: Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers
Voice: Song is a thin, buzzy pi-tsee, usually repeated. Call is a sharp, down-slurred chip.
Nesting: 3-6 white eggs, with a few faint speckles laid in a mud, moss, and grass nest lined with soft material, often using feathers or cow hair, built under a bridge, on a sheltered ledge, in a crevice in an old building, or among hanging roots near the top of an embankment close to water.

Some helpful hyperlinks to learn more about Black Phoebes:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology



Have an Inspiring Indigo day!

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