During a visit last year to check on the progress of our new home, we discovered we could not use our screened in porch due to a family of Phoebes that had taken up residence just above the door. Since we were not staying long, we gave up the porch to these squatters rather than endure the constant hovering and squawking of the parents each time we went outside.
This year was a different story. When our phoebes came back and tried to rebuild a nest in the same place, we decided we needed to encourage them to move elsewhere. You see, they wanted to raise a family without any disturbance and we wanted to use our porch. We found we had to actively create a disturbance every time they tried to rebuild their nest. We finally compromised and allowed them to build under the eave near the front door. This had the added benefit that we could watch nature at work.
After the nest was built, we did have one moment of dismay when it looked like the nest had been destroyed. We thought that maybe a predator had destroyed the nest and the young, so we were relieved, when we discovered that 4 hungry babies were chirping for food from within the remains of the nest. It would appear that as the birds grew and the parents went back and forth delivering food, the nest was losing structural integrity.
Over the next few days we watched as fuzz turned to feathers. Just before Father’s Day weekend, the babies took turns stretching their wings on the ledge outside the nest. At times they seemed to be picking at their wings in an attempt to remove the remaining baby fuzz.
Then, just a few days later, I watched as one of these young Phoebes fluttered its wings and got a little bit of lift under the eave. Later that day, as I returned from an errand, I found one youngster on the ground. As I approached it took off. Mama Phoebe took off from the nest, followed almost immediately by another youngster. One small bird remained and I feared that it may have been abandoned but soon its mother returned bearing food. Within 2 hours, the youngest of the flock took flight as well and our close up view of nature ended.