Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mad Phoebe Report

About 3 weeks ago, a pair of daffy Eastern Phoebes decided they would nest on top of the light fixture in the ceiling of our carport. Fine by me, but the top of the fixture is sharply sloped, and seemed a very poor choice of building site. For 2 days they kept piling moss and twigs onto the light, and every speck of it fell onto my ancient Saturn, which began to look like something dug up by a truffle pig. Dave and I tutted over the sad decay of instinct in the birds, and I told Renee it was like watching the wedding of an idiotic young couple who you pray will never breed.

Which just goes to show how little I know, because somehow the mad Phoebes solved the engineering problem and put up this lovely cantilevered nest.
Their perseverance was impressive, but I still didn't have much faith in them or their construction skills. Even when Mama started sitting a clutch of eggs, I figured the whole shebang was likely to come crashing down any minute. Wrong again. The nest has stayed rock solid and now has 3 lively chicks.

Dave took this pic a couple of days ago. The babies were still all mouth at that point, but this morning they were poking their heads out of the nest. The nest is holding fast, and I think everybody will be just fine as long as I remember not to turn on the light and fry the little dudes.

If you check out the Cornell Ornithology page on Eastern Phoebes, you'll see this note: "...The Eastern Phoebe is a loner, rarely coming in contact with other phoebes. Even members of a mated pair do not spend much time together. They may roost together a bit early in pair formation, but even during egg laying the female frequently chases the male away from her." I'm not the only one who doesn't know everything, because my Phoebes are constantly together, and Daddy seems quite devoted to his brood.


Mary said...

I'm just completely in love with the name Eastern Phoebe!

helg said...

Now there is why I am so jealous of where you live! I am stuck in the big city and never get to see those magnificent specimens...*pout*
Thanks for the post, lovely!

Anonymous said...

You know, that's a beautiful nest. And the chicks are lovely! Hurray for the wacky Phoebes!
Thanks for the update and the picture.

BitterGrace said...

Mary, when you get your little dog (Japanese Chin?), maybe you can name her Phoebe.

Helg, I know--I'm so lucky. This is the kind of thing that keeps me living out here in the middle of nowhere.

Renee, I can hardly believe these 2 have pulled this off. I'll post when they fledge *crossing fingers*

Juvy Santos said...


OMG omg, Maria, that's so awesome! That's so sweet...I feel fuzzy just looking at the nest...

chayaruchama said...

They are really somethin'.

[We had a batch of swallows build a nest in our stove-thingie-fan-ventilator- felt like this amazing gift, to wake up, drink coffee, and listen to them sing in the wee am hours !]