Date: 4/30/17 1:40 pm
From: Barry Haas <bhaas...>
Subject: Eastern Phoebes Mostly
Dear ARBIRDers,

Fortunately, the nestling phoebes under our front porch overhang waited until after yesterday's/last night's incredibly stormy weather and 5+" of rain here before making a break for freedom. This morning while watching a hummingbird at our front feeder suddenly one of the young phoebe escapees perched on the feeder's support arm, and was quickly joined by one of its parents. Today was exactly three weeks after my post concerning 9 fledgling wood ducks.

Shortly after those wood ducks fledged, I decided to check the phoebe nest to count the eggs. Well, I waited just a bit too long as there were some just hatched young along with one teensy, tiny white egg. The hatchlings were far too small and jumbled together to count bodies, and besides I only intended to take a quick look and count eggs.

One of the Stokes guides says the phoebe nestling phase averages 18 days, but the weather the past three weeks here has been odd with some very cool periods. I watched as the nestling phoebes finally grew large enough to where they could no longer all hunker down below the nest rim and seemingly disappear. So now they are off in a very dangerous world for avian juveniles. Good luck, kids.

We too have enjoyed rose-breasted grosbeaks out back in recent days, and today have been visited by a male Baltimore oriole in really fine plumage. While the larger group of cedar waxwings departed, leaving behind a number of unripe fruits on the two large mulberry trees right behind our house, we would spot a few stragglers in the days afterward.

Three Sundays ago when I checked our west wood duck nest box from which we THOUGHT the 9 had fledged earlier that day, I disturbed an adult female woodie brooding 11 eggs. It shouldn't be too much longer before we see those young emerge, and hopefully spend at least a little time on our now almost full pond. Normally the young'uns are marched into the woods by the adult female shortly after emerging from the nest box, and we never see them again unless they return as adults.

All that rain that has our pond just below the spillway may not be much appreciated by all our red-eared sliders. Their favorite spots along the far bank are now under water.

From the deep woods just west of Little Rock,
Barry Haas
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