Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Curious Case of Phoebe

Over the last two years, despite all efforts to discourage nesting, a Phoebe has succeeded in building a nest under the carport on top of the light. She has always chosen one particular side and only varied once on a second nesting when the nest fell down.

This year was no different. I thought I had successfully discouraged her from the light by placing a nesting platform on the side, but no. Back in March while I was gone for a couple of days, she had completed the nest. That being done, I was not going to disturb it.

Phoebe sat on the nest for a couple of weeks then suddenly, gone. As temperatures were still cool at night, I knew any eggs would no longer be viable. After seeing a Brown Headed Cowbird pair hanging around, curiosity got the better of me so I got the ladder and headed up. Not wanting to disturb the nest, I placed a mirror over fully expecting to see a couple of Phoebe eggs and a possible Cowbird egg. sign of anything. I double checked the carport floor but no broken eggs.

I marveled at the finely woven nest. The finest of grasses carefully woven forming an almost perfect circle. The outside of the nest had been carefully covered and hooked to the light with lichens and moss. All I could do was wonder. There is no way a snake could have gotten to the next and no signs of it being disturbed. I considered going ahead and removing the nest so I could paint a replaced piece of plywood that had already been postponed from the previous year double nesting but I just could bring myself to remove what she worked so hard on.

I did not see Phoebe again for a couple of weeks. Eventually, she came back to the yard area perching on her favorite spots then dashing off after an insect. This past Tuesday, I noticed that she was coming and sitting on the opposite light, sitting and just looking at the nest. She did this for a couple of days. On Friday when I came home, Phoebe was in the next and did the peer over at me as I was going in the house.

Today between periods of nest sitting and insect chasing, she would fly to a nearby tree where what I presume is Mr. Phoebe sits. They seem like an old married couple fussing with each other. I am very courious as to whether she has laid eggs or not but will not disturb the nest. I will just track to when I think they would hatch. Outcome to be seen.

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