Wednesday

Nest


A phoebe has built her nest about three feet from the kitchen window in the rafters of the porch. What an audience she has:  Teddy has left his beloved chaise to lounge instead on the top of a wicker truck for an excellent view of all her comings and goings.   Katy has taken up a place on the table, a mere six foot distance from the nest, for her daily, if not hourly, observations.  We're all bird-watchers here.   I'm content to watch her come and go while waiting for the eggs to hatch but I do think Ted and Kate may have other plans.

Her nest is not very large considering the possibility of the 3 to 8 eggs she is reputed to lay. Although she is a small bird she is too big to nestle down very far into the nest and instead sits on top of her little man-hand sized mud and moss house.  An adobe dwelling, you might say.  David watched the building process closely and reports that she carried building materials to the site, sat in the middle of them and formed the nest around her body. The exterior walls she then brushed smooth with sweeping movements of her feathers. I read that the male circles and sings while all this goes on.

My most favorite ornithologist in the entire universe, Edward Forbush,  informs me that both male and female Phoebes incubate and feed the young. When they are almost grown daddybird cares for the family while the She leaves to build another nest for brood number two. I'm not quite sure I can tell them apart as there aren't really any distinguishing markings between them. The male doesn't appear to require the more flamboyant plumage generally associated with his gender. Quite the pair, these Phoebes. Share and share alike it seems.  Little wonder they are able to mate for life.