The Say’s Phoebe and Ladder-Backed Woodpecker are fairly common, especially during mating season, but they don’t appear in my back yard very often.
I really enjoy watching the Say’s Phoebe, a member of the flycatcher family, as it darts around after the bugs it enjoys eating. This particular Phoebe frantically chased this bee for a several minutes before catching it and feasting on the top of our yard wall.
Say’s Phoebes are a fairly small bird with a mostly buffed gray body, head, and wings with a light yellow belly. And it’s nearly impossible to distinguish males from females (though I’ll refer to this one as female). This photo makes the bird look a bit longer than she really is, because she’s stretching a bit. They typically have a much rounder appearance.
This Phoebe likely had a nest somewhere fairly close to our yard, since it was a frequent guest in our yard. These birds are fierce defenders of their nesting sites, and I saw this one giving several different Ravens a talking-to over the last several weeks. She successfully ran every Raven off, as can be seen in one of this week’s photos.
This week’s other bird, the Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, is one that we can see year-round. I don’t see them in my back yard very often, though.
These birds are a treat to see, with their black and white stripes and red or black cap. Males can be distinguished from females by their cap. This photo is a male, with his bright red cap.
Until fairly recently, the Ladder-Backed Woodpeckers would perch on a neighbor’s Century plant, until it fell over. They would peck on it to eat the bugs held within. Now they try their best to eat the nectar in our hummingbird feeders. They prefer bugs, but will also eat fruit – especially berries.
They don’t usually hang around for long, so if you see one of these birds in your yard be sure to snap a photo right away!
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