The Uncommon Phoebe

(Burrowing Owl Update Below)

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

The Black Phoebe is a relatively familiar visitor to the park. Its cousin, the Say’s Phoebe, shows itself more rarely. The Say’s orange-tinted breast clearly distinguishes it from the Black Phoebe, which has a white breast. I saw one at the end of October last year, but not since then. This morning is the first time I’ve seen it in the park this year. (I did see one in the Berkeley Meadow a couple of weeks ago.)

This bird used the benches on top of the hill where the Peace Symbol dwells as its perch for spotting flying insects. As flycatchers, equipped with a relatively slender, pointy beak for that purpose, the phoebes sit in wait on a suitable vantage point and wait for prey to come flying near. Then they pounce and snag the insect either in the air, or where it may land. Phoebes can also hover briefly, like a hummingbird, to aid them in grabbing prey from vegetation too light to hold the birds’ weight.

This one probably went hungry for the moment. The sun hadn’t been up long enough to warm the ground enough to get the bugs stirring and buzzing.

My favorite Say’s Phoebe encounter was in November 2018, when I happened to film one dipping into the water to snag something just below the surface. See “Say’s Phoebe on Water,” Nov 7 2018.

Burrowing Owl Update

The Burrowing Owl in the park rested at Perch B again this morning, as it did yesterday. During the time of my visit, the bird remained quiet and sleepy, rarely opening its eyes more than a slit. It registered no alarms and had no visits from Ground Squirrels. Not a very interesting time for park visitors but probably the best of times for the bird: no stress, no visitors, no worries.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Feb 1 2023

Similar Posts:

One thought on “The Uncommon Phoebe

  • I guess we’re only get one owl this year? has a second owl ever arrived this late in the season?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »