Monday, August 19, 2013

Say's Phoebes Pay a Visit

I was out on the front porch visiting with my wife and her mother and watching hummingbirds a couple of days ago. Black-chinned and Rufous Hummingbirds were trying to get a turn at the feeder. A young Calliope Hummingbird was still visiting the feeder about every twenty minutes as well.

As the humans were visiting on the porch and the birds were engaged in their sugar-water scuffles, I heard the call of a Say's Phoebe (sayz fee-bee). What a treat to get a Say's Phoebe as a yard bird. These birds are generally solitary and found near open fields rather than neighborhoods. They sometimes migrate in small groups and also associate while breeding and raising young. I wondered if the two I observed were stopping to refuel themselves as they were migrating southward or just part of a family that was formed nearby. The Say's Phoebe I was able to watch was perched alternately between a fence and a small tree.  It would perch and then jump into the air to snatch a flying bug in its bill and return to a perch to wait for another source of food to pass. I captured a few images of one of the birds before it flew toward another home and out of sight. The light yellow gape suggests a young bird, probably one that hatched this summer.

Say's Phoebe Pleasant Grove, UT

Say's Phoebe Pleasant Grove, UT

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