Top Photo: Juvenile eastern phoebe waiting for food from one of its parents.
On Thursday morning of this past week, I noticed a pathetic, wheezy, weeping sound coming from the palms along the sides of the path on the Dinosaur Trail, the unmistakable whining of a young bird on, or just off, the nest. It didn’t take long to locate the bird. It was an eastern phoebe, just fledged.
There were at least two more of the little flycatchers up in the trees over the trail, and after a short wait I saw both parents alternately fly in to stuff an insect goody down one or the other of the fledgling’s throats.
Most years, eastern phoebes nest under the boardwalk in Explore the Wild (one year they chose the top of a masonry block column on Explore the Wild’s restroom building).
As year-round residents they get an early start on the nesting season. Many of our other local nesters are just starting the nesting process, some just arriving back from the tropics. These phoebes have beat most to the punch (though we’ve already had nine chickadees and nine bluebirds fledge from our bluebird trail).
You can see our phoebes, most days, down in our wetlands sallying forth to catch flying insects from a perch next to the water or even on the railing of the boardwalk itself.
Get out and have a look around. The birds are there, rain or shine.