The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuxedo Bird

Even nature likes to dress up once in a while.  This bird hangs around my patio and perches on my fence – all day, every day.  Seeing him so often, I started calling him my little “tuxedo bird”.  Doesn’t he look to be wearing a black tuxedo coat with tails?  His species is actually called “Black Phoebe”; he’s part of the flycatcher family which happens to be the largest family of birds on earth.  This bird lives from SW Oregon down to South America.  They don’t usually migrate.  The sexes are identical in appearance and the juveniles plumage is brown, turning black as they mature.  It's mainly insectivorous waiting on a perch before flying out and catching prey mid-air. This explains why I never see it at the bird feeder.  Last spring we had a week or two period with lots of mosquito and daddy-long leg activity.  One time I watched this bird chase a bug just to drop it and chase another, and then another.  Somehow he managed to grab 4 or 5 bugs in his beak at once – legs sticking out and all.  Quite a cute sight.  These birds always live near open water.  They make an open cup nest which is placed under a cliff or a bridge and is cemented in place with mud.  I don’t recall ever finding a nest however.  I'll be on the lookout. 

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