LORI DUNN SCRATCHBOARD ART
promoting conservation through artistic efforts
9 x 12
During the summer I love watching the Eastern phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) work away at catching flying insects on the property. Wagging their tails from their perch, they suddenly make quick darting forays out to snatch up bugs mid-air, quickly returning to consume them. They will feed on many flying or sedentary insects and are capable of catching such large insect prey items as dragonflies and butterflies. These birds are also effective control of pest insects such as flies, mosquitos and ticks.
Phoebes are primarily solitary passerines and even mated pairs spend little time together. They have adapted well to human presence and often use barns and other outdoor structures for nesting sites. I have an old barn across from my property that they nest in every year. Interestingly, the eastern phoebe was the first ever "banded' bird in North America - John James Audubon attached a silver thread to an individual's leg in 1804 to track it's return in the following years!
I loved that this particular individual was sitting above its invertebrate counterpart...competition that could become a meal itself unless it remains hidden! My grateful thanks to friend Thomas Dunkerton for allowing me to use his photo as reference for this piece. His wonderful photography can be seen at www.tjdunkerton.com