Thursday, March 19, 2009
Phoebe vs. Wren
Eastern Phoebe (March 13, 2009)
It happens every year! The Eastern Phoebe, a common flycatcher bird, returns to our yard in late February.
Carolina Wren (June, 2007)
A few weeks later, he harasses the Carolina Wrens from the front porch where they have been sleeping peacefully at night in a clay birdhouse. The wrens leave the birdhouse in the morning. When they come back to check out all 3 birdhouses on the porch for a possible nest, the phoebe chases them away. I start hearing his constant "fee-bee" call over and over ad nauseum.
Here he is, looking at me taking the photo, saying "You can't stop me." It's really no contest because the 7" long phoebe with a 11" wingspan is much larger than the small 5-1/2" wren.
So, the Carolina Wren's first nest is usually elsewhere. This year, I had propped up a bluebird house in the shed but didn't get around to putting it up back on our pasture. The wrens made a nest behind it so I will leave it until they leave the nest. It's too late to put up the bluebird house anyway.
The Eastern Phoebe has staked out the area in front of the porch where he perches on a branch, flipping his tail up and down and then diving for insects which he catches on the fly (hence the term flycatcher). Funny thing he has never made a nest on the front porch, usually it's under the second story eave on the south side of the house (the north side being taken by the bathouse).
By June, the wrens usually return to our porch to raise their young, the phoebe having calmed down by then. I guess you figured out which bird I prefer on my front porch!