Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eastern Phoebe

By SKEETER

We do not like for the birds to nest on our front porch. Especially the Eastern Phoebe as she uses mud to mold her nest. Here in my Georgia Gardens, we have areas of Red Clay and I do not care for Clay to stain the woodwork of the house. I have won the battle with the Wren and Finch and my hanging plants. I place a fake nest with plastic eggs inside the plants. This way the birds think there is already a nest in each plant and they go elsewhere. I fear drowning a baby with watering a plant from below so I keep the birds out of the hanging plants. Eastern Phoebes on the other hand, do not build their nest in a plant but prefer to use a ledge such as our porch corners. As you can see, we have put Finials (fence tops) on the ledges but somehow Phoebe moved this one just enough to build a nest. We have a rule, if the nest gets built before we spot it, it stays. Then we must deal with the birds until the babies have fledged the nest. This little stinker had a nest build upon our return trip from TN last month. They are smart birds!
I enjoy birds of all types in my Georgia Gardens and have documented 54 different species over the years we have called this place home. Eastern Phoebes are Fly Catcher's, meaning they eat tons of flying insects. So they are my friends as they can have all the pesky bugs they desire in my gardens! Phoebe's nest are made from moss, grasses and held together with mud. They get most of their supplies for nest building by the run-off creek as I have watched them build a nest in our garage in the past.
She was very calm with us coming and going through the front door of the house daily. We had to make a few adjustments to live in harmony with Phoebe. We have turned off the automatic (motion censor) lights on the porch and house corners so as to not disturb her during the dark hours. We also keep the window blind near the nest closed so our cats do not disturb her as they look out the windows. When watering the porch plants, I do not linger around as I water and get out of sight as soon as possible. As you can see, our sacrifices have paid off. We have babies in the nest!
Phoebe is busy feeding her brood now. I can hardly wait until the day the baby's leave the nest and I can have the porch back to normal. I must keep an eye out in case OJ or Coco kitty are around when they fly the nest. I must admit, it has been fun watching them from the living room windows. And it does not look as though Phoebe used red clay when building her nest. So hopefully, this area will clean up with little elbow grease.

video

Click on the video to see the EASTERN PHOEBE, feeding her baby's, In the Garden...



Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

30 comments:

  1. Skeeter,

    54 birds, many you have not seen there yet. Learning the bird calls will bring that number up a lot. Our list stands at 108, only added one bird in the past 5 years.

    Enjoyed the phoebe video!

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  2. Glad you all found some harmony on the porch. She wasn't trying to stain your porch...perhaps 'clay' color is not the color for her home :), or yours.

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  3. How adorable! I've never seen one of these up close. I hear their call though, fee-bee fee-bee. Seems to be a good bird to have around and smart indeed! The babes are cute!

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  4. Very nice birds. I don't think we see those here. I love your trick of the fake bird nest.
    My in-laws have problems with barn swallows nesting this way on their front porch. They tacked small pieces of window screen across each corner so there wouldn't be as easy a place to nest but some still found a way to attach their mud nest under the porch roof. One year, we gave my MIL a windsock with a lot of tails. The swallows didn't like it apparently as they didn't nest on that end of the porch that year. Now, she trys to keep one hanging while they're nesting. It helps.

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  5. We too have barn swallows that usually want to build a nest over our kitchen door every year. Not very convenient for either party.

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  6. Good Morning All.
    Skeeter that is awesome. I've never seen a bird build it's nest like this. It would be nice to watch even tho it's a bit messy. The babies are cute.
    I saw 3 little eggs in the Wren's nest in the pot on my potting table.
    Jean, hopefully the tree cactus will find it's way to you soon.

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  7. Good morning everyone! We can feel the humidity in the air a bit but for now, that is a good thing as we are expecting rain. I had to water yesterday as things were drying out. Hopefully, one of these pop up showers will hit us today...

    Randy, 54 is the number of birds we have seen just at our feeders. I get many different Sparrows I cannot ID as they are all so similar. My count would be much higher if I could ID those sparrows. I hear tons of sounds in the woods and have no idea what bird is chatting. I know we have many more birds around us that I have not spotted as of yet. If only I could just sit and observe without pulling a weed or digging in the dirt. It is always a happy day when I spot a new bird in our gardens…

    Darla, We try to live in harmony with all the critters around here. Some times it is a bit tough such as this. My poor hubby has to find the key hole to the front door in the dark every morning when he takes off for work. I miss an attached garage, sigh. We don’t keep keys to the back door on our key chains so the back door is out. He wants the porch lights back on and soon…

    Tina, they are cute birds! Those big eyes are sweet. And they twitch their tails when perched. They are just adorable and we do welcome them in our gardens. Anything that rids us of bugs is my friend! They are fairly tame as the wren and will allow you to get really close. So if you hear one, see if you can spot its twitching tail…

    Sherlock, The Eastern Phoebe can be found East of the Rocky Mountains so they have a large range. I like your idea of the wind sock with streamers. They may look a bit silly on the porch but I am up for trying this method until breeding season is over. My in-laws have issues with Woodpeckers on their house and they have tried streamers with no luck. Their Woodpeckers are persistent in making sure other woodys know their territory…

    Nancy, We see the cliff swallows at the lake under the bridges. They watch us as we ride the boat under the bridge and we watch them as well. We can get really close to them as they are use to people on boats. It is a bit startling when they fly out for bug hunting as we are close to them. I fear one of them poking me in the head with its beak...

    Lola, We have had these birds in our life since we moved into this house. I had never seen them before then. They usually nest in the open garage but last year, I found a dead one on the garage floor. I fear that OJ kitty got to it. We were sad as we did not see a mating pair last year. But now, they are back and on the porch where they think they are safe. But OJ comes to our porch daily and I just hope he does not spot the nest. He could probably climb the post and get to the nest! Yikes, I must keep my eyes open now…

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  8. Skeeter, what a fun posting. Your porch will clean up I imagine, but to see this bird and her babies is wonderful. I have a bird that I thought was a King bird, but now I am thinking it might be a Phoebe. Will have to investigate the two.
    We have a Wren who made her nest inside the top of our propane tank! Silly.

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  9. Wow, how fun to have birds to watch! We currently have an owl next in our neighboring oak tree. We're hoping to see some babies soon.

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  10. Skeeter,

    I love this post, the video, your photos. How did you photograph the nest with the babies? You must have climbed on something but I can't figure out how you managed it. Great read this morning... thanks for sharing!

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  11. How sweet to be such a great landlord!!!

    Lola you are such a darling, thanks a bunch!!

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  12. Clouding up and looking like rain. Wohooo…

    Janet, Kingbirds are awesome birds and I see the Kingfishers at the lake often. They have crested heads and tweet up a storm while cruising food. Oh no, not the propane tank! Now I will be on the look out as it is near the boat and they love to nest on the boat. We had to stuff foam rubber under the cover to keep them off the corners of the front end. We also must keep an eye on the back of the boat as they have tried to nest by the hull of the motor and also beside the batteries and even on top of the pontoons! Those birds find the craziest places…

    Alexis, An owl nest would be real interesting to observe! I see the adult owls at times and hear them but so far, have not discovered any cavities of them. I have been watching the live video of the Eagles and they are amazing…

    Wendy, I used a step ladder to assist me on the railing! Instead of getting a taller ladder from the shed, I took the step ladder from the house. I just hope I don’t fall off the railing as that would make for a story in the emergency room…

    Miss Jean, you know we are one heck of a Bed and Breakfast around here! Word seems to get out as the birds flock to our dwellings. Yes, pun intended there. Hee hee. Lola is a mess with her kindness isn’t she…

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  13. I would put up with it because I love birds, but my husband would probably not be as patient or tolerant. He gets mad at the woodpeckers...and I don't blame him because they peck holes all over the house.
    The video was a nice touch. Now she's a famous Phoebe!
    The post office in our town has some sort of bird that builds a nest out of mud, and they have to knock the nests off occasionally. Hopefully when there aren't any young in there!

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  14. When I was living with my mom almost ten years ago, there was a partridge family that tried to build a nest on the ledge right out in front of the kitchen window. That wouldn't have been so bad, but the ledge is right in front of the front door. Where we also would get our mail, not to mention the comings and goings of our regular schedule.

    My step dad wasn't as kind as you are, he got rid of it, whether he saw it before they started anything or not, he was going to get rid of it.

    I can only imagine how much fun it is to see Pheobe feeding her babies, and any other thing that mom birds do. I like watching birds in general, so it must have been a real treat for you.

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  15. I like your trick with the fake eggs and nest! Cute babies...maybe you can reclaim your porch!

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  16. Rosey, My inlaws deal with a Woodpecker each year marking his territory. He uses their house as well. They place streamers and try to deter him but he is persistent as he likes the sound of their wooden house. They must plug the holes with wood filler, sigh…

    ZZ, The Saint and I are similar in our thinking that we like to live in harmony with animals. We live in the middle of woods, therefore, we will have to deal with critters in our life. We do what we can to keep peace. I have never seen a partridge before! It is fun to observe the bird family…

    Cameron, The fake eggs and nest came to mind when I learned that Wrens build mock nest to deter other birds from building nearby. The light bulb went off in my head and I thought, why not give it a try and it works. We should have our porch back to normal before too long…

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  17. How exciting to have birds make their habitats in your home! I like the video.
    I have hardly seen about 6 or 7 birds here, out in the open. Can you believe that? Well, that's the sad plight of urbanization :(

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  18. BTW, I am looking forward to your bunny posts. :D

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  19. Aw, mama and babies are so sweet Skeeter! How kind of you, putting up with the mud, sharing your porch and making adjustments to accommodate them.

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  20. I love Phoebes. In winter they come onto our porch all of the time looking for insects.

    Nice of you to accomodate the birds' needs until the babies fledge!

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  21. Chandramouli, The birds here seem to adapt with us humans such as the birds nesting on the porch. No bunny’s in the woods this year, sigh. After several seasons in the woods, they became molded so had to go bye bye. I now have the fence with some colorful things about but am thinking of making a major change...

    Garden Girl, The Saint and I enjoy wildlife so much we do what we must to live in harmony. We must make sacrifices to balance life at times and we try to do our part. The baby’s are growing so quickly and will leave the nest within a week!

    Sweetbay, the wrens land inside our backdoor awning looking for bugs. They also get a sip of water out of the Ant Reservoir we have on the hummingbird feeder. We have 4 birdbaths and they find the little round plastic cup with water to deter ants. Go figure…

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  22. I agree. It is fun to watch the birds. It's one of my favorite things to do.

    I get a partridge and a mourning dove mixed up. But it could either be one of those.

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  23. I agree. It is fun to watch the birds. It's one of my favorite things to do.

    I get a partridge and a mourning dove mixed up. But it could either be one of those.

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  24. I only found this post because I googled "annoying eastern phoebe". I love birds, have several feeders, and enjoy their songs (except phoebe's song...not very attractive). However, I have had 2 phoebe nests on the top of my porch columns this spring and they're not only making a mess from their nest, they're leaving bird poop all over the place. I let the first one go because of the eggs, they hatched and flew the nest and I took it down...then came another nest at the other end of my porch and now it has eggs too! I'll let it be but I need to do something about this...what works best to keep them from nesting on top of the columns?

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    1. Hi Anonymous, this is Skeeter's friend Tina. She did the post and outlined all of her attempts to keep the birds from nesting on her porch with little luck. I think you may have to resort to removing the nests as soon as you see the parents building one. You will have to keep up with it too. Or maybe block the porch columns? It can be tough dealing with birds who like your garden and home as much as you! Good luck!

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  25. My phoebe returned this spring and promptly moved back into her nest outside my kitchen window. She laid eggs, sat on them, and then started feeding her babies. I became worried when I didn't see her for a couple of days. Well, you can guess the rest of the story. I found her in the yard this morning, a long way from the house. There was no sign of trauma of any kind so I have no idea what happened to her. Her babies didn't make it, of course. What shall I do now? Shall I clean out the nest and hope another family finds it? I so enjoy watching them. They usually have two families every summer.

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    1. I am so sorry about your birds. Such mysteries happen here often. We can only wonder as to what might have happen to missing or found dead birds. I suggest you remove the old nesting as Phoebes do not return to their old nests. I say that as there has been an empty nest in our carport for two years. We left it after the last family fledged. Nothing returned so we can only assume, they do not use an old nest.....

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  26. My phoebe returned to her nest outside my kitchen window, laid her eggs, and started feeding her babies. When I didn't see her for a while, I became concerned. You know where I'm going with this... I found her at the edge of my yard this morning. There were no visible signs of trauma. She must have hit a window or something. Her five babies are all gone... I cleaned out the nest. Do you think another phoebe will find it? I so enjoy watching them with their little families twice each spring and summer.

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  27. Thanks for the information. I have finally identified these birds on my front porch ledge as Eastern Phoebes. They spent more than 6 weeks fruitlessly trying to build a nest on a 1/2 inch wide ledge. It would get a certain size of mud and fall down and they would start over. My wife told me to help them so we took part of one of those cedar planks for cooking fish on the grill and widened the ledge. They built a nice big nest with a lot of moss. The babies hatched last week. They don't seem to be noisy. There are 4 babies. It sure did make a mess with them building that nest. We are enjoying them nevertheless.

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    Replies
    1. Phoebe are good birds to have around your home. They eat lots of insects. They are fairly clean birds in the nest as the parents remove poop sacs from the babies waste. Wrens do the same thing but finches, they are messy little birds but we love them just the same. I just do not allow them to nest. I have recently repainted the front porch so I am on my guard with summer nesters. Oh one more thing you may find fun, if you are lucky enough to see the baby phoebes fledge. It is a treat if you catch them as they all fledge at the same time! Happy Birding....

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