Eastern Phoebe, is the consensus.
I had help with this one from the Facebook group What’s This Bird? Just post a bird photo and in mere moments you will have eager know-it-all birders help you identify your mystery bird! I mean that in a good way.
What do I know about flycatchers? Well, only enough to think this bird is in that family. Among other identifying features, it would fly off its perch on limbs, wires, or our fence and catch bugs on the wing or in the grass.
I shared these photos to the Facebook group, with a description of time, place and behavior, and here were the comments.
Eastern phoebe in the bayberry bush by the pond.
I’m happy to see this summer bird is still around.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Eastern Phoebe Migration
Short to medium distance migrant. Eastern Phoebes are among the first migrants to return to their breeding grounds in spring—sometimes as early as March. They migrate south in September–November, finding wintering habitat in the central latitudes of the United States south to Mexico.
Phoebe on the garden fence.
Cornell Lab cool phoebe facts…
In 1804, the Eastern Phoebe became the first banded bird in North America. John James Audubon attached silvered thread to an Eastern Phoebe’s leg to track its return in successive years.
“Phoebe, phoebe…” alright already!
Noisy little flycatchers zooming all over the place.
The Eastern Phoebe generally perches low in trees or on fencelines. Phoebes are very active, making short flights to capture insects and very often returning to the same perch. They make sharp “peep” calls in addition to their familiar “phoebe” vocalizations. When perched, Eastern Phoebes wag their tails down and up frequently.
Brown-headed Cowbird at the top of the dawn redwood in our front yard.
Gray Catbird at the edge of the red maple swamp out back.
Common Yellowthroat takes off.
Tree Swallow perches on the martin house “antenna.”
Eastern Phoebe holds still for a moment.
Red-winged Blackbird sings atop a maple at the edge of the swamp.
Eastern Towhee, female, scuffling in leaves at the edge of the field.
Eastern Phoebe, spotted while drinking a beer on the front lawn with my husband yesterday afternoon.
I have been trying to get a photo of this bird (actually, I think there are two of them) for a few days. I was pretty sure it was some kind of flycatcher, but not sure which one.
Got the shot. Looked up local flycatchers online. It’s a phoebe.
One of our most familiar eastern flycatchers, the Eastern Phoebe’s raspy “phoebe” call is a frequent sound around yards and farms in spring and summer. These brown-and-white songbirds sit upright and wag their tails from prominent, low perches.
I will get more, better photos too, I hope! This is my Backyard Bird #50.