The Eastern Phoebe is a small, insect-eating bird that can be found throughout much of eastern North America. Measuring about 6.5 inches in length and weighing between 0.4 and 0.6 ounces, this bird is small but mighty. Its most distinguishing field mark is its dark head and back contrasting with its pale gray belly. It also has a distinctive habit of bobbing its tail up and down, which can help identify it from a distance.
Eastern Phoebes are migratory birds, spending the winter months in the southern United States and Central America before returning to their breeding grounds in the spring. During migration, they may be seen in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, fields, and even urban areas. In the summer, they can be found in wooded areas near water, where they build their nests on ledges, eaves, or other man-made structures.
Despite their small size, Eastern Phoebes are hardy birds that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. They feed primarily on insects, which they catch on the wing or glean from foliage. They are also known to occasionally feed on berries or seeds. Eastern Phoebes are solitary birds for much of the year, but they may form loose flocks during migration or in the winter.
Eastern Phoebes are known for their distinctive calls, which sound like “fee-bee” or “phoe-bee.” These calls are frequently heard in wooded areas during the spring and summer months, as the birds establish and defend their territories. Despite being common throughout much of their range, Eastern Phoebes are still vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation, so it’s important to protect their habitats and conserve their populations for future generations to enjoy.