Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe

I saw this bird for the first time on October 11, but could not get a good photo of it.  This afternoon, with the slanting sun providing a full side-on light, this Phoebe posed for its portrait.  It perched on a rock by the Open Circle artwork in the northeast corner of the park and did a bit of preening and fluffing.  

The Cornell bird lab website has these “Cool Facts” about the Black Phoebe:

“Although it mostly eats insects, the Black Phoebe sometimes snatches minnows from the surface of ponds. It may even feed fish to nestlings.

The male Black Phoebe gives the female a tour of potential nest sites, hovering in front of each likely spot for 5 to 10 seconds. But it’s the female who makes the final decision and does all the nest construction.

Black Phoebes don’t usually venture outside their breeding and wintering areas, but on rare occasions they are seen as far east as Florida. One misplaced bird showed up in Minnesota in the fall.

One pair of Black Phoebes got some unwanted house guests when a pair of House Finches moved into their nest. The finches added 5 eggs to the 6 phoebe eggs already there, and the two females alternated incubation duties for an entire week before both species abandoned the nest.

The oldest Black Phoebe on record was at least 8 years old when it was recaptured and released during banding operations in California.”

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