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!