Today we were surprised by a new bird--an Eastern Phoebe. The Phoebe is not exactly rare, but he is new to this particular yard.
My first recourse when I don't already know a bird is to pull out my Sibley's guide (from Audubon) to check the possibilities. Another source I enjoy is
, from Cornell University. Cornell has adopted a nice model for their online encyclopedia of birds. For free, you get an image of the bird, some identification tips, "life history" for the species, a range map, the occasional video and -- the most fun for me -- a sample of the bird's calls. This drives my cats nuts.
Joining/supporting Cornell's Lab of Ornithology will give you access to even more information on the birds. It will also, of course, support their research.
With the Phoebe, we were listening to a bird we have heard many times, but have never
in the yard. They are small insect-eaters (though they will eat small fruits) and don't have bright colors that call out to be noticed. He's probably been hiding in the spruce trees when we've heard him before. Either way, I get to add him to the property bird list. He makes number 36!
Thanks for reading...