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Two Phoebes Share the West

But they rarely compete for food

In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. But they occupy different habitats. The Say’s Phoebe prefers dry, open country ranging from tundra to desert. This Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it is nearly always hunting alongside creeks, reservoirs, or even the tiniest pond in a back yard or garden. The birds’ voices set them apart, too. The brisk phrases of the Black Phoebe’s song stand in sharp contrast to the plaintive refrain of the Say’s Phoebe.

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BirdNote®

Two Phoebes Share the American West

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. They’re both flycatchers, but they rarely compete for food because they’ve evolved to occupy different habitats.
 [Say’s Phoebe song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/191105, 0.12-16]
The Say’s Phoebe’s voice echoes off the rocks of almost any dry canyon west of the Rockies. [Say’s Phoebe song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/191105, 0.12-16]
A small brown flycatcher with an orange belly, the Say’s Phoebe is named for Thomas Say, an early 19th Century explorer and naturalist. It prefers dry, open habitats ranging from tundra to desert — usually well away from trees or water. It’s just as happy nesting among stone carvings in an Aztec ruin in central Mexico as it is on a cliff face north of the Arctic Circle. No other North American flycatcher ranges nearly so far north. [Say’s Phoebe song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/191105, 0.12-16]       
[Black Phoebe song,http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/126464, 0.08-.11]
    The Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it’s nearly always hunting by a body of water. You’ll find it alongside creeks, reservoirs, or even the tiniest pond in a back yard or garden.
Their voices set them apart, too. The brisk phrases of the Black Phoebe’s song
[Black Phoebe song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/126464, 0.08-.11]
…standing in a sharp contrast to the plaintive refrain of the Say’s Phoebe.
With which it shares the American West.
[Say’s Phoebe song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/191105, 0.12-16]
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Say’s Phoebe [191105] recorded by W L Hershberger; Black Phoebe [126464] recorded by Thomas G Sander
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org  July 2018  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# SAPH-BLPH-01-2016-07-28    SAPH-BLPH-01

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