Another early migrant to arrive back in northern Minnesota is the Eastern Phoebe. Their song sounds just like their name and the nemonic phrase for the Eastern Phoebe is: “FEE-be”.
Now, don’t get the Phoebe mixed up with the Black-capped Chickadee’s song that also goes “fee-be, fee-be,be”. The Chickadee makes this song in the spring when they are setting up their territories. The song is described as a clear, fluted fee-bee-be. Some describe it as “cheeseburger, cheeseburger” Most of the time it is a 3-parted song, and is different than their familiar alarm call of “chick a dee-dee”.
The Eastern Phoebe’s song is more burrey or buzzy and usually the first phrase “FEE-be” goes down and the second “FEE-be” phrase goes up. It’s easy to pick out the difference right now in Crane Lake as they’re all singing and setting up their territories. The Phoebe can be found close to water at this time of the year because that is the more likely place to find insects that have hatched out. The Phoebe is the first member of the Flycatcher family to arrive back in Minnesota. Many times they arrive before there are any noticeable bugs flying around. I guess the Phoebe can adapt for a short time by eating seeds and fruit left over from last summer and fall.