While hiking at Hinckley Reservation, I noticed a group of baby birds that were just starting to leave the nest. They were fun to watch, as they hopped from branch to branch.
One of the easiest bird calls to learn is the call of this creature. It gives a vocal clue to its identity by softly uttering its name — “fee-bee,” with the first syllable accented, slightly longer and higher pitched.
This sparrow-sized bird appears remarkably big-headed, especially when it puffs up its small crest. It is a dark, drab gray-brown on the back, with a light breast and belly that is often washed with yellow.
The Eastern Phoebe belongs to a family of birds known as flycatchers. Like most small flycatchers, it has a short, thin bill that it uses for catching insects.
This bird often perches low in trees and is very active, making short flights to capture insects and repeatedly returning to the same perch, where it characteristically wags its tail up and down frequently.
The Eastern Phoebe often nests around buildings and bridges where it is easily observed. It is speculated that its population has increased as buildings and bridges provide additional potential nesting sites.
Despite its plain appearance, this flycatcher is often a favorite among eastern birdwatchers. It is among the earliest of migrants, bringing hope that Spring will soon be at hand.