Say's Phoebe

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Sayornis
Species: Saya

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma
  form, kind, species
Gr. turannos
La. tyrannus
  tyrant, despot, king
La. Sayorins  for zoologist
      Thomas Say

About 8 inches long. Brownish-gray, sometimes olivaceous tinge upperparts, darker on the head.

Say's Phoebe, Allan Brooks, Birds of Western Canada, P.A.Taverner, 1926
Allan Brooks
Grayish throat and breast, cinnamon belly. Wings dusky, lined with tawny-whitish, edged with white on coverts. Exhibits typical phoebe up and down tail motion.

Inhabits the foothills, rocky canyons and open country of Western North America in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains from Saskatchewan to central Texas over to California up through British Columbia, the Yukon, to Alaska. It is of accidental occurrence east of the Mississippi. It's been reported in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

USGS Say's Phoebe Map

Builds nests of sticks, grass, moss, hair and spider webs in tree hollows, caves, rock crevices, in farm out buildings and on ledges under home porches.

Catches insects in flight.

Lays 3-7 white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks.

Young Phoebes, A. R. Dugmore

Young Phoebes, Bird Homes, A.R. Dugmore, 1904

The Phoebe Platform has approximately a 6" by 6" base, approximately a 6" ceiling, an open front and partially open sides.

Mount platform on the side of a garage, shed or porch under open shelter or an eave over looking both open spaces and foliage in your back yard from seven to twelve feet high. Carefully select a location that provides a balance of protection from predators and elements, access, and visibility.

Do not mount in a tree. Make sure objects that cats and squirrels can climb do not provide access to the nest. The idea is to simulate a cliff edge. They like to survey a wide berth from their roost. They also like bird baths

Robins, Barn Swallows, Black Phoebes, Eastern Phoebes and Song Sparrows may use this platform.


Phoebe, William Leon Dawson

William Leon Dawson, Birds of Washington, 1909


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