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Eastern Phoebe – Nesting and how to protect nests built under decks?

Eastern Phoebe – Nesting and how to protect nests built under decks?

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Flying thousands of miles to your breeding grounds, singing your most beautiful songs, and sometimes competing with others to find a mate. You have eastern phoebe build a nest together, meticulously assembling your home twig by twig just to lose to some hungry hippos is rather painful. This article would introduce you to the eastern phoebe nesting habits and how to protect their nests built under decks.

Nest by eastern phoebes under the decks can be protected by making sure every post has metal flashings to stop any predators coming from ground, keep the nest high, keep a large cage for them to be separated from other species.

What is an Eastern Phoebe?

Eastern phoebe or Sayornis phoebe brownish above and pale below, with a light-yellow wash on belly, a constant tail wagging, darb medium-sized flycatcher is a pretty common bird to find in northeastern America. They are one of the first birds to return to the breeding ground and last to leave in the fall. The eastern phoebe’s call is a sharp chip from which it gets its name “fee bee”.

Often announces that spring is at hand. The environment eastern phoebes breed in is open woodland farmland and near suburbs. They breed near water nesting sites, in typically human-built structures such as buildings, culverts, joists, decks, bridges.

Eastern phoebe builds their nest in places where the young will be safe from the elements and the predators. Even though the nest is often typically around 15 ft above ground there is an ever-present danger of predators like blue jays, squirrels, snakes, rodents, or house wrens. These dangers can be averted with the small intervention of humans as they commonly breed on our grounds. A human touch to the place around the nest like installing metal flashings under the post so that nothing can get up from the ground, installing baffles, keeping your pet indoors, not leaving food around the nest.

One small advantage of these birds invading your house is that they keep insects away. The majority of the diet consists of flying insects. Common prey includes wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, moths, cicadas, and beetles. They also eat small fruits and seeds. Eastern phoebes are vigilant, they often twitch their tails when they look out for flying insects. When they spot one they abruptly leave their perch on quick wingbeats and chase down their food in a quick descent. Sometimes in verdure, they hover to pick insects or seeds. 

How to keep eastern phoebe safe from predators?

As eastern phoebe is common but rather an interesting sight to see during the breeding season, they build nests around 5 inches across, and the nest cup is 2.5 inches across and is 2 inches deep and where you find such spaces under your deck. To protect these small creatures, you can install a nesting camera if it is a regular phenomenon every spring and monitor in case a predator comes hunting. You can always build a cage with an entry big enough for the family but small for their natural enemies. Or if that same location is being reused for some years you can provide some protection around like netting or sheet covering with holes.

What not to do to protect eastern phoebe?

Though they tolerate other species, these small, swift birds are aggressive when it comes to their territory, both sexes, but particularly females, attempt to defend the nest against such predators as snakes, jays, crows, chipmunks, mice, and house wrens. Not attracting these uninvited guests and sometimes repelling them can help if you want to protect their nests. Don’t leave food outside which is a major magnet for raccoons and mice and these squeaky little bastards for snakes and crows. 

What are some basic things we can do to protect eastern phoebes?

Phoebes nested on bare rock outcrops before human-built structures were common, and they still do occasionally. Phoebes choose nest sites with underwood vegetation nearby, probably to make the nest site less conspicuous or to provide perches near the nest for the adult to easily catch the prey to provide for the young ones. But sometimes these sites too are trespassed by our curiosity. 

Being near and accessible we sometimes lead their native predators to them leaving our scent when we visit the home sweet home of our non-paying guests. If you love them, leave them alone and stay as far away as possible.

How to protect phoebes from your pets?

Keep your pets indoors. It’s the least we can do to avoid a probable cause of their demise. We love our cute purring, furry, gentle felines, but cats are cold-hearted when they are out on the prowl.

How to protect Eastern Phoebe nests?

Unlike most birds, nests are often reused in subsequent years if you’re the kind of person who wants the sweet melodious chirping of “fee bee” you can attract a pair by building a predator-proof bird box with slight modifications like reinforcing entrance with metal so that invader may not be able to make it wider extending the roof about 12 centimeters past the front and sides of the box will make it harder for predators to clamber in from above, fixing your box to a post made of smooth metal, rather than wood, will prevent attacks from climbers. 

It’s cheap but it is effective to rub cayenne pepper on birdhouse poles to prevent snakes from climbing them. Coating the insides of bird boxes with bar soap will prevent insects from laying eggs inside them. 

How to care for eastern phoebe nests? 

You can also protect a nest by caring for and keeping the adults near the site of nesting. For starters, put out pieces of dry plant material, like grass stems, twigs, and soft leaves. Offer short clumps of pet fur or put it in obvious places. Pet hairs provide warmth and a soft bed for newborns. Put out dried eggshells for birds. It helps female birds retain lost calcium during egg production and laying. Provide food and water such as mealworms, peanuts, and suet.

With human-built structures expanding across the landscape phoebe numbers and range have simultaneously increased. People enjoy having phoebes nesting in their houses, but these nests are destroyed or removed for general appearances or sanitation purposes. Support nature conservation by donating, volunteering, or even just raising awareness about nature conservation, you are helping to safeguard your favorite species for generations to come.