Sunday, May 29, 2011

Phoebe Nest

Each year, we seem to end up with a Phoebe nest just outside our front door. I enjoy having Phoebes around, but they never seem to fare well this close to the door. I try to discourage the nest building, but there always comes a period of a few days when I leave early every morning and get back after dark every night and when I next see things in the daylight, the birds have thrown together a nest and popped in a couple of eggs. Everything goes well for a while until an abnormally cool night coincides with some type of disturbance on our front porch. The bird flies into the night and the eggs or young succumb to the chill.

Five eggs is about normal. I’ve put nesting platforms at different places around the house and the Phoebes have successfully nested on them. The pair that built this nest had already begun the put eggs in a nest around the corner from the door, so I wasn’t expecting them to start a new nest. When I found this nest, I checked and found that the first clutch had disappeared.

I question the suitability of an aluminum downspout as a nest platform. A chilly rain can cool that aluminum in a hurry and I can’t imagine that being very good on the eggs.

The Phoebe that built this nest was messier than most. There’s mud smeared along the downspout, mud on the wall and look at all the splatters on the soffit above the nest. Normally it’s the female that builds the nest. Maybe the mess is where the male jumped in and tried to help.

We do get a good view from the window. Maybe we can ward off disaster this year and enjoy watching the care of a Phoebe family.


  1. Keep us posted! I hope your Phoebe's are successful there.

  2. Since they regularly return they must feel pretty safe near you. Do you have a dog or cat? I would guess they might avoid places that do.

  3. Hi, Shelly. I'll give an update later, hopefully to report fledged youngsters.

    No cat or dog here now, Lois. My daughter's cat of 14 years just died a couple of months ago. He was an indoor cat, so he was never without a pane of glass between himself and the birds.