Despite its unobtrusive behavior and drab coloration, the Eastern Phoebe is a familiar bird to those who live within its range. Its tendency to nest on human dwellings and under bridges has endeared it to many and earned it the common names of “bridge pewee” and “barn pewee” in 19th century North America. Indeed, this flycatcher’s use of bridges has evidently been a key element in the spread of its breeding range into the Great Plains and the southeastern United States. Unlike the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), however, it has not totally abandoned its original nest sites and continues to nest on rock outcrops and other natural niches when available.
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