Sunday, June 02, 2013

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe
The Eastern Phoebe always chooses a nesting site with a roof that protects the nest from the spring rains. Typical sites include under the ledge of a building, inside a culvert, under a bridge, or below a cliff. The nest is usually near running water. I saw this phoebe three times in the last several weeks in the same spot along the Elbow River. Twice I saw the phoebe emerge from a site under a ledge that hangs over the river. The bank under the ledge is home to dozens of bank swallows. 
 The flycatchers often demonstrate "tail-flicking" that is distinct to a species. 
Experiments have shown that vocalizations are innate and not learned. Neuro-anatomical studies indicate that the Eastern Phoebe lacks critical cell groups in the forebrain that are used for song-learning. 

The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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