Our phoebe showed up about a week ago. This morning he was singing like crazy, so I attempted to shoot video. While I managed to get some usable footage, it looks pretty bad to my eye. He only sang from high perches, hence the male is small in the frame. In addition, the bright overcast sky translated into a washed-out background that obscures detail in the bird itself. Not a prize-winner, but it does prove that our phoebe is indeed back and singing. Maybe I’ll have better luck on another day.
Have you ever noticed that the male Eastern Phoebe actually has two different song patterns? One is the classic fee-bee, which has a buzzy ending. The second song pattern, fee-britit, sounds much like the first, but has a sputtery ending. The two song types are often (but not always) alternated. The picture below shows what they look like when visualized as a sonogram (a time versus frequency diagram):
Here is a closeup recording of the two song types, made this morning:
Unmated males may sing throughout the day. Once mated, however, they generally sing only during the twilight period before dawn. Females are also known to sing, but rarely and briefly in early morning, in the presence of the mate.
Here is my official video portrait of the species, which features good-looking footage that I obtained in previous years … enjoy!
I wouldn’t be too concerned about the video footage. It’s still very nice to see the bird that’s doing the singing.
A new bird for me! So sweet! Thanks!
Nice! I’ve been hearing them and was confused with Chick a Dee calls,need to compare them!
Did you see the bird at the Sanders really? Was that a gold finch?
Your clock is off on these posts I am writing this at 12:27 pm
Thanks Eleanor. I just changed the blog time to the New York time zone, which is where I live.
I saw the sweet bird that alighted on Bernie’s podium during a recent rally, Eleanor! At first I thought it was an English sparrow but upon closer look at a still photo drawn from the video, I think it was a house finch. That sure felt like a nice stroke of levity and grace in the midst of these discouraging and distressing primaries.
Distant here, in Brazil, I love to see your bird videos, Lang Elliot.
Thank you Bruno! I’ve never been to Brazil, but I have recorded in the Peruvian amazon. So different from here … another world for sure!
i wish there was a way to attach pics to comments. i saw a bird i’ve never seen before in the woods this week. would love to see if anyone knows who the little character is.
At the bottom of the page -on I-pad at least there is an option to add a photo…
Yes, you now have the option to upload a photo with a comment. I’m testing to see if this works out.
i like the effect of the first one–it makes me think of a haiku somehow. like sparse, and i like the gray tones, the silhouette, more than all the colors. and the sound is nice and simple too.
Glad you like my “gray” video clip. It is haiku-like, monochromatic yet moving. I like it because it celebrate “my phoebe,” newly returned and happily singing. It was the best I could get under the circumstances, so perhaps I shouldn’t be bad-mouthing it.
Awesome recording and video! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Tony. I hope all is well with you!
You really made me listen more closely to the phoebe song – thanks! Just saw my first phoebe this morning, but he or she was quiet in the chilly dawn light.