ARTISTS AND  BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Heís Back!"

Says Phoebe

        Iím sure parents look forward, with excitement, to a child or grandchild coming home for a visit, as I do. Part of the anticipation is getting the house ready, the groceries bought, the plans for entertaining in order, previous engagements cancelled, etc. etc. etc. All this to assure the visit is fun and memorable. My Honey keeps a calendar of reservations we make for our family. Itís a big thing in our lives. We love family coming. But are you supposed to feel the same excitement when another kind of visitor shows up at your front door . . . like a bird? Last year we had a Says Phoebe take a phoebe nests - twoliking to the lintel around our front door and the overhang of our roof that offered protective cover and safety from predators as eggs were laid, incubated, hatched, babies fledged, and all moved out into the waiting world.

        This spring I heard the gurgeling song of the male Phoebe (the same one he used last year to entice a female to his nest). The Says Phoebe male sang out from several perches near the front door. "Heís back!" I shouted. "Donít anybody use the front door. We donít want to frighten him away!" What an exciting surprise! Well the Phoebe built and sang and built and sang for several days . . . would he ever find an interested female? Finally, after a week of peeking out my front window I ventured out to see the birdís progress and WOW . . . he built two nests this year. They were even better than last yearís nest with a bit of white cat hair decorating the top of each nest. This was i n t e r e s t i n g . . . was he planning on giving the female a choice of two nests . . . or was he trying to attract two ladies?

        Phoebes love building their nests on top of or near lights on the outside of homes. One reason is a ready supply of attracted insects each time the light is turned on. Itís like living near a well stocked refrigerator with plenty of food. Phoebes are people tolerant. Some bird species are shy, reclusive and stay away from people. Phoebes seem to love being around people in a home environment. One of the richest habitats is a well kept yard with lots of vegetation. Some people say the birds make too much mess where others, like the Davisí, find great joy in watching the life of birds . . . as parents hatch out the next generation and feed their young right before your eyes. If you are lucky enough to have a Says Phoebe in your yard, we hope it brings you lots of joy.

        The photographic artist this week is Marilyn Davis. If you have a story about a bird at your house or want to know about upcoming Red Cliff Audubon activities call 435 673-0996.


        If you wish to read more Artists & Birds articles, they are listed in the table below.

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