Phoebe Frustration

by Carl Strang

Late last week I was walking around the friary exclusion fence when I heard a phoebe calling.

Photo of a phoebe from an earlier year.

He was perched in the very top of a tree, close to where a pair of phoebes nested for at least the past two years at Mayslake Forest Preserve.

Their nest, built on a security light fixture, was deep in an enclosed ramp near the northeast corner of the main friary building. The light was dim, but you can just make out the incubating bird’s head.

Sadly for him, while he was spending his winter in the South, this happened.

As I related in a series of posts last fall and winter, the old friary buildings were demolished.

Was his incessant calling a displacement of his confusion at not finding last year’s nest where he left it? Was it a more practical attempt to connect with his mate so they could go house hunting? Hard to say. It seemed to be more than the usual spring calling. I have a hard time thinking of this as a tragedy, though. As far as I know, all that pair ever raised out of that nest were cowbirds.

On Monday I saw a pair of phoebes perched close together on the friary site’s exclusion fence, at the point closest to last year’s nest site. I’m inclined to think that this was the pair that nested there last year, that they have connected now, and soon they will seek a new nest site.

 I wish them good fortune in their future reproductive efforts.

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1 Comment

  1. April 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

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