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All of July we have been watching a pair of Eastern Phoebes who built their nest under the eves of our screened in dining deck. We watched as they put the finishing touches to the nest. We waited with them through the days after the eggs were laid for the chicks to hatch.

We knew they had hatched by the constant activity from dawn to dusk, as mum and dad perched on a tree about ten feet from the nest and swooped around catching insects, and prepared regurgitated dinner for the kiddies. I suspect It’s a bit like McD’s or Mac & Cheese. They rarely hunted more than twenty feet from the nest.

Eastern Phoebes are easily identifiable by their markings and the way they continuously twitch their tails. They are incredibly industrious, never seeming to rest from their labours of gathering food for the chicks, who acted more like fat cats.

Watching for insects

Watching for insects

I like Fish Fly season

I like Fish Fly season

Twitch it to the right, twitch it to the left, all join wings and...

Twitch it to the right, twitch it to the left, all join wings and…

When the chicks leave home, I'm going to join the Y

When the chicks leave home, I’m going to join the Y

Tried a soft image look.

Tried a soft image look.

I still haven’t bought a hide for the garden so the best I could do in getting shots of the parent birds were these handheld snaps, peeking around the corner of our deck. It’s fascinating that as soon as I am on the outside part of the deck they fly off. But we can stand inside by the screens and they seem uncaring – or maybe something about the way their eyes work doesn’t let them see through the fine mesh of the insect screens.

I didn’t want to worry mum and dad too much, so only took this one quicky family snap without flash of the offspring under mum. Sounds a bit like a German town. “We are going to offspring-unter-mum for the hols – have you been there?” Why do chicks always seem larger than their parents?

It's nice and warm in here, but where's dad with lunch?

It’s nice and warm in here, but where’s dad with lunch?

Last evening we noticed mum and dad weren’t perching on the neighbourhood tree, but we could see Eastern Phoebes hunting about fifty feet away in the bush. When I checked the nest this morning “Those birds had flown – Norwegian Woods” I guess. The nest is empty and the rafter is going to need a lot of cleaning! Nice tenants, but really, is that the way to leave your apartment after your summer rental?

We hope they will be back again next year. They certainly left their deposit!