Monday, April 9, 2012

Meet Phoebe

I'd like to introduce you to a special little lady.

This is Phoebe. Well, she's a phoebe. She's Say's Phoebe, to be exact, named after Thomas Say, who first described her during his exploration to the Rocky Mountains in 1819-1820.

image from

She's classified as a small songbird and a medium-sized flycatcher. Her upperparts are pale brownish gray and her belly and undertail are cinnamon. She wags her tail.

Her habitat includes open country, sagebrush, badlands, dry barren foothills, canyons, borders of deserts, and ranches. She lays 3-6 eggs and usually incubates them for 12-14 days. Her nest is often placed on a ledge with cover, such as in a cave or on a building or bridge. In fact, I think it is this exact bird that has maintained a nest on top of a light fixture in my parents' garage for years (decades?).

And she's my kind of gal: she builds her nest using a variety of natural materials, such as rocks, weed stems, grass, plant fibers, spider webs and other items, and then lines it with soft items such as hair, fibers, paper, or feathers.
While her friends call her Say's Phoebe, the academics like to call her Sayornis Saya.

And if that name sounds familiar to you, you have a good memory. Coming soon. Very soon.

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