Harbinger of spring

Today is the first day after we switched to daylight savings time. It just so happens that I saw my first Eastern Phoebe of the year during my morning walk.

Actually I heard it first. I was walking in Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park and suddenly I heard the familiar “fee-bee, fee-bee” calls at a stream crossing. I looked up and sure enough, there it was, the little flycatcher was perched on a tree branch, enthusiastically issuing its scratchy yet delightful calls.

Eastern Phoebe

Some have described the Eastern Phoebe as “drab” and its song “raspy”, and it is quite a common bird in the east that it is often overlooked. But it is one of my favorite birds, for it is among the first neotropical migrants to arrive. To me it is the harbinger of spring, messenger of warmth. Soon the trees will bud, the flowers will bloom, and the tide of warblers will wash over our woods. But it is this little unassuming bird that started it all.

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