Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Perhaps one of the commoner and earliest spring returning of the flycatcher species – usually identified because they sit upright and wag their tails from prominent, low perches.
In 1804, the Eastern Phoebe became the first banded bird in North America. John James Audubon attached silvered thread to an Eastern Phoebe’s leg to track its return in successive years.
Eastern Phoebes often reuse nests in subsequent years—and sometimes Barn Swallows use them in between. In turn, Eastern Phoebes may renovate and use old American Robin or Barn Swallow nests themselves. They are regular breeding birds in the nearby arboretum though this specimen was posing in our garden.