Friday, February 15, 2008

Not in my backyard.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans.

The Black Phoebe is a tyrant flycatcher. It ranges from southwestern Oregon and California to western Texas and northern Mexico. It's also found throughout the Andes, from Colombia to Argentina. It is not found in my backyard.

The bird in the picture liked to perch in a tree outside the Hilgard Hall Building on the UC Berkeley campus. He sat there flicking his tail, as phoebes do, and attacked robins and other hapless dicky-birds that dared cross the invisible line that defined his territory. His arrival in that tree every year was the most reliable signal that spring had arrived on campus. That, and flip-flops.

Speaking of my backyard, this is the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Basically, you sit in a location for as little as fifteen minutes, and record the maximum number of each species of bird you see. Then submit your results.


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