Friday, September 22, 2006

juvenile Eastern Phoebe

When I saw this bird perched on old telegraph wires this morning I first thought I had taken a picture of a Flycatcher; this was mainly because of the yellow belly. The yellow belly is very evident in the cropped closeup to the upper right. However other features did not seem to fit and I kept hestitating to id it as a Flycatcher.

The bird in the photo had a dark, flat, rounded head and its bill was black; and these are characteristic features of an Eastern Phoebe. Upon checking with The Sibley Guide to Birds I noticed that he had included a picture of a juvenile Eastern Phoebe which has a yellow belly from June to November! Although I often see Eastern Phoebes at this same location in the spring it is probably adult Phoebes that I am used to seeing and I had not connected a yellow belly with an Eastern Phoebe before. Other characteristics of Eastern Phoebes are the weak wing bars and smudges on the sides of the breast; both features can be seen in the photo to the upper left. So I have concluded that the bird in the photos I took this morning is probably a juvenile Eastern Phoebe.

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