Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eastern Phoebe perching (BPW)

Way back at the beginning of spring I posted some pictures and videos of the Eastern Phoebe nest that we have on the side of our house. I was remiss in that I did not post many updates about the nest's progress. I am happy to report that 5 (presumably) healthy babies fledged from that nest. And now, our Phoebe pair is in the midst of rearing their second brood, once again of 5 nestlings.

Phoebes might be one of the easier birds to photograph because they tend to perch for long periods of time in one spot. And, if you're lucky to have them nesting on your house, you will soon learn their favorite perching spots that are on the path to and from the nest.

Unfortunately, it has becoming increasingly difficult for me to get decent photos of these birds now that the trees are fully leafed out. Our woods are very dense and filled with shadows, so I have to wait for them to come out to a perch that is in more direct light. They have become very fond of sitting on various shepherd's hooks in the garden, and on a spud bar that is standing up in our driveway, which is where this handsome bird is perched.

Here are some videos we captured of the previous brood.

This first video is of the 5 very large fledglings trying to rearrange themselves in the nest. I call it playing musical chairs. It's quite a precarious venture to move around in there!

This is the video of 3 of the 5 fledging from the nest (1 had already fledged previous to this video). One lone baby remains at the end, too scared to make the leap with everyone else! It seems baby #5 departed within 30 minutes of his other nest mates.

I do worry that once this second brood has flown the coop that we won't hear or see much of the whole family for the rest of the season, which will be a sad thing. I hope they come back and visit from time to time.

This post was for Bird Photography Weekly #42. For more Bird Photography Weekly, go here:


mick said...

Great photos and videos! You are lucky to have then nesting so close so you can watch them for such extended periods.

The Early Birder said...

Super pics Heather & thanks for the breeding update.

Monika said...

How cool that you get to watch them raise families from start to finish. It always amazes me that with the time and effort involved in raising a brood that birds are sometimes able to do it twice in one season!

Those videos are something else...musical chairs is right! They're pretty much forced to fledge at that point, aren't they? I look forward to an update on the second brood!

Ginnymo said...

I loved watching the videos Heather!! They are so cute. I couldn't see the second here so watched it on Youtube.

Heather said...

Mick - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I feel very lucky that they have decided to nest on our house. It is always a joy to be able to observe them so closely.

Frank - No problem.

Monika - Yes, I can't imagine having two broods so close together. It must be exhausting for the parents!
The thing that amazed me about the "musical chairs" video is how they would teeter at the edge but then somehow get it together and get back on/in the nest. It must have been pretty uncomfortable in there for them by that time.

Ginny - I knew you would like those videos. They are indeed VERY cute. As to your comment from my YouTube page, I do not believe that they ever return to the nest. Interestingly, though, after the final juvenile had fledged, we caught video of one of the parents coming back every once in a while, as if to deliver food, and at one point the mama bird came in and started tidying up the nest. Pretty neat.

Arija said...

That was a wonderful post with the stills and the two videos, both of which I watched twice. Very exciting! Isn't it great to have them nesting at your place?

Nature As Is said...

Oh Heather you did a great job. Your shots are soo crisp displaying their expressions. I love the video too impressive.

Oh and I wanted to say congrats to you too..I know Frank nominated you for an award as well... you have a wonderful blog..makes me smile everytime I come.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

I enjoyed watching the video of the fledglings. The photos are great, too!

Vickie said...

Wonderful post! So glad you left a note on my blog. I love your phoebe images and especially enjoyed the videos. Must be one of the ways they strengthen their wings for fledging, all that jockeying around for a spot in an over-full nest. I know you will miss having them nearby when they all depart.

Kelly said...

...loved that video...watching them dance around on hte nest jockeying for position cracked me up. Beautiful photos. I'm glad you were able to watch their progress and they are already on nest two!

Heather said...

Arija - Hello, and thank you for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed the videos. It truly is a marvelous thing to have these birds sharing such close quarters with us!

Crista - Those crisp shots are very few among many blurry ones (since I don't usually bother with a tripod when I'm taking bird shots!) Thanks so much for your nice comments. I always enjoy your blog too.

Bob and Cynthia - Thank you so much for stopping by. You can't go wrong with video footage of baby birds!

Vickie - Thank you for coming by. We also speculated that all the wing flapping must be in preparation for their first flight!

Kelly - It's hard to believe the Phoebes have already been here for 3 months! (They first arrived on March 15th.) When I think about it that way, it's no surprise that they are on their 2nd brood already.

MaineBirder said...

Love the videos and photos! I love watching Phoebe's hawk insects.

Heather said...

MaineBirder - Thanks for stopping by. I like watching them hawk insects, too. And watching the parents feed those big bugs to their babies!

Barbara said...

Another Mainer who found your blog. Our Eastern phoebes just fledged two days ago and we miss them. Five perched precariously in a nest just above our porch door. We rerouted the dogs and cat for fear that the nestlings would fall and become dinner. But they stayed put just as your video indicated; it was amazing. Do you know if they return to the nest? Should we leave the nest on the chance that they return the following year? Thanks so much for your pictures and video.

Heather said...

Hi Barbara - Welcome, and thanks for stopping by! Isn't it kind of sad when these little babies leave the nest? And right above your porch door - wow! I don't think it will hurt anything for you to remove the nest. I've seen them return to reuse/rebuild over a nest from the previous year, and we've also removed their nests, only to have them rebuild right on the same spot! The bottom line is, if they like that spot, they'll nest there again, whether you take down the nest or not.