Birder's Eye View

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Life Bird

I am very excited -- I saw a life bird today! At least, I'm 99.999% sure I did (and that's good enough for me!).

So, there I was, sitting at my computer, trying to create a presentation about the war trials of the Holocaust for history class. I zoned out and my mind started wandering (usually, not a good sign).

The next thing I knew, I was staring idly out my window, when what did I see, but a poofy-feathered, dark grey bird drinking from the bird bath.

I jumped up, abandoning my history project, trying not to lose sight of the little passerine. It flew up into the nearby elm tree, checked out the birdfeeder, but was unimpressed (I later understood why).

I studied it through my binoculars for as long as I could before it flew away. In all, I only had a few seconds to examine it.

At first, I didn't know where to start when I opened up my field guide. I flipped through the middle, trying to classify the bird. I realized its coloration was very much like an Eastern Kingbird, but its posture and mannerisms were somewhat different.

I flipped towards the back of the book, looking under "Flycatchers." As I glanced through the pictures and descriptions, two words formed in my head: Eastern Phoebe. I turned to the page on Phoebes and flycatchers, and there it was.

The picture and description of the Eastern Phoebe was almost exactly like that which I had just seen. As described in the book, the bird out my windowhad twitched its tail up and down when it sat still in the tree; it had a dark back, and a lighter, yellow-tinted underside. Its beak was pointy and black.

Upon further research, I've pretty much determined that what I saw was an Eastern Phoebe. It probably won't return to that spot, because Phoebes are insectivores; I have no idea what that one was doing there, other than taking a drink from the bird bath.

I know Eastern Phoebes are nothing unusual, but life birds are always exciting. Plus, it marks the 124th bird on my list!

Boy, December has been a great month, so far.

Unitl next time,

Happy Birding!

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  • Cool bird Andrea. That would make sense that you haven't seen one before since their breeding range is a couple hundred miles North of you.

    Here in WI, I have at least two pairs nesting near my house. I can usually gauge the arrival of spring by when the E Phoebe returns.

    Happy Birding! --Chris

    By Blogger Parus, At December 14, 2007 at 10:29 PM  

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