The Other Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) in meadow of Nature Area

The Say’s Phoebe is a regular winter visitor to the park. It may have a shorter migration than most of the seasonal visitors we see here. There are spots where these birds breed in the hills of Contra Costa County, and more in the Sierra foothills. (But this bird may also have come from much farther away.) They don’t like the coast for breeding, but seem happy with it for the winter. I usually see this bird in the meadow of the Nature Area on the north side of the park, as in the photo above. But I also saw it recently on a trash container on the east side, about even with the Flare Station:

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) on trash container

Sitting on a trash box doesn’t make for a romantic composition, like the photo in the meadow, but it makes practical sense for the bird. It lives by catching insects, in the air or elsewhere. Do you remember the old first-grade riddle, “What has four wheels and flies?” Answer: a garbage truck.

More about the Say’s: Wikipedia Audubon Cornell In Chavez Park

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