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Category Archives: Eastern Phoebe

I used to see Eastern Phoebes all summer. At one point they nested above a light outside my garage. They then nested under the deck for a couple of years. Since they stopped nesting around the house I normally only see them after their first batch of young hatch.

 

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

House Finch

House Finch

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird female

Eastern Bluebird female

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Normally we have Eastern Phoebes around the farm. For years one nested on a light over the back door of the garage. In recent years they have not nested around the house but they turn up occasionally. This week one turned up at my bird feeders. Typically they don’t eat anything at the feeders so I was a little puzzled. It was a hot day and the phoebe looked a little out of sorts. Shortly after he arrived he started chasing an American Goldfinch. He returned to the feeder and then chased another goldfinch. This behavior went on for about 15 minutes. A few days later he was back and still chasing goldfinches.

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This fledgling Eastern Bluebird has been hanging around with its parents.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

I continue to find a number of Chipping Sparrows hanging around the feeder.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

The Eastern Phoebes have returned. I mentioned that they were not nesting around the house for the first time in years. But I’m now seeing and adult and a fledgling hanging around the house but not nesting.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

American Goldfinches are around in large numbers. They are really going though the thistle seeds.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

 

As long as I can remember we have had Eastern Phoebes nesting on the farm. For years they had a nest above a light fixture that was mounted close to my son’s bedroom window. It used to drive him nuts when the birds would start in early in the morning. When that nest was abandoned they started nesting under out deck.This year they have not returned and I have not seen a single Eastern Phoebe. These photos were taken the last several years.

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Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

More photos from Canadian Hill Farm can be found on my website.

I watched this Eastern Phoebe Preening one afternoon.Eastern-Phoebe-14-7-_1521

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This past week three more spring birds returned to the farm. The Eastern Bluebirds returned to the area several weeks ago but only turned up on the farm the last couple of days.

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

 

Right behind the Bluebirds were the Tree Swallows. Both are vying for the use of the same houses. I have a dozen bird houses around the farm and have yet to figure out why the Bluebirds and Tree Swallows always seem to want the same houses.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

 

The Eastern Phoebes also returned this week. They have been busy working on their nest. Since the nest from last year is available they seem to be only doing some minor repairs.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Yesterday I saw two new birds at my feeders. The Yellow-rumped Warblers are migrating through. I have been seeing lots of them along the Red Cedar River but today I saw my first one on the farm. I think this is the first one I’ve ever photographed on the farm.

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The Eastern Phoebes have also been plentiful along the Red Cedar River. I normally have them build a nest around the house and yesterday I saw my first one of the season on the farm.

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It has been a while since my wife and I have been to Willow River State Park. Usually I make a number of visits in the winter but this year I just made one visit. With the arrival of Spring we decide to drive over and check on condition in the Park. In fact  we made two visit last week to Willow River State Park.

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The first visit was made on bright cold spring day.There was plenty of water running over the falls. It was late in the day so the falls was mainly in the sun and only partially in the shade. I managed to get a few photographs using a neutral density filter and a circular polarizing filter.

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After photographing the falls we decided to follow the river down to Willow Falls Lake and see if we could find any wildlife. There were plenty of ducks and Canada Geese to be found where the open water of the river met the ice on the Lake. We heard a pair of Sandhill Cranes calling as we were walking along the river but couldn’t see them. We also saw a couple of Trumpeter Swans land in the open water on the lake as we were walking back to the car.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

After looking at my photos I wasn’t happy with them so a few days later we decided to drive back over to the park and do some hiking. In the morning we walked down to the falls and took some more photos. The water was running higher than on the previous trip. We then walked along the river to check on the waterfowl. They were less plentiful along the shore than on our previous trip. We decided to walk back to the car and head out for some lunch.

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After Lunch we decided to try hiking the Nelson Farm Trail which was finished late last year. It goes from main east parking area through the north portion of the park and ends back at Willow Falls. In all we walked about seven miles through the park.

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The trails had been groomed for cross country skiing but they had turned mostly to slush and in many places were bare ground. We encountered a couple of diehard cross country skiers on the trails. They had to stop every once in a while and walk through the mud to get to the next patch of snow. One of them gave up and clearly was not happy with conditions but the other one persevered and made the circuit of the park.

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Wildlife was plentiful in the bluffs above Willow River Lake. There were two herds of White-tail Deer in the meadows. We also managed to see quite a few birds including our first Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Bluebirds, Great Blue Herons and Cedar Waxwings of the season. Waterfowl was plentiful but too far out for any photographs. Waterfowl included Wood Ducks, Common Mergansers, Mallards, Buffleheads and lots of Canada Geese.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

This is a great time to visit Willow River State Park. There is some good water flow over the Falls. Many of the summer birds have returned to the park. Waterfowl are plentiful where the Willow River enters Willow Falls Lake and along the edge of the ice on the lake.

I don’t think I’ve given it much thought but the hot humid weather we’ve had this past week must take a terrible toll on wildlife. I’ve been photographing birds now for quite a few years and have never noticed birds panting before. I really feel sorry for the birds that are nesting in bird houses. Every time I walked by this Tree Swallow she had her head hanging out of the house and was panting. I started noticing that many of the other birds that I was photographing were also panting. With the hot humid weather we have been having the past week I’ve been getting lots of photos of birds panting to try and regulate their temperature.

Tree Swallow

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

House Finch male

Eastern Phoebe

Baltimore Oriole male

American Goldfinch male