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Maps from eBird track Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe. Photo by Joan Wiitanen

In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of the year. We featured Eastern Phoebe, pictured above, in our July/August 2019 issue.

Eastern Phoebe Maps
Maps from eBird show where Eastern Phoebe occur in August (left), and in January.

Eastern Phoebe is normally one of the earliest flycatchers to return to breeding areas throughout the Midwest and Northeast, and pairs will commonly initiate their first nest before many of the other flycatchers have returned. In August, Eastern Phoebe occurs across southern Canada east of the Rockies and throughout all of the eastern U.S. By January, most phoebes have retreated to a range that primarily includes the Southeast United States. The species is uncommon to rare in the winter in portions of the Southwest. Well-known for nesting on porches and other human structures, pairs are generally double-brooded, with the pair remaining together throughout the breeding season. Listen for the species’ stereotyped two-parted song, an alternating fee-bee, fee-b-be-bee.

See eBird’s real-time distribution map for Eastern Phoebe.

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eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the July/August 2019 issue of BirdWatching.