North Carolina Mountain Birds: Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee [photo credit: Phil Fowler]

Adding a dash of adorable to the Inn on Mill Creek Bed & Breakfast in the summertime, the Eastern Wood-Pewee gets the nod as our August 2014 bird in our 12 Months of Birding at the Inn series on the blog.

As a flycatcher, the Eastern Wood-Pewee’s diet is mostly insects, including flies, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies and moths, and even bees and wasps. You can often find the Eastern Wood-Pewees perched on branches of trees and rhododendron that line the pond at the Inn on Mill Creek, waiting for a little snack to fly by. They are amazing to watch when they catch insects in mid-air! They also eat small berries and seeds.

It can be a challenge to identify the Eastern Wood-Pewee since a lot of flycatchers look similar, especially the Eastern Phoebe, another mainstay at our B&B. Some differences to watch for:

  • The Eastern Wood-Pewee is more olive-gray, while the Eastern Phoebe is more brown
  • The Eastern Wood-Pewee is slightly smaller than the Eastern Phoebe
  • The Eastern Wood-Pewee has strong wingbars (lines of contrasting color on its wings)
  • The Eastern Phoebe has a serious tail wag while perching, flitting its tail up and down

Another way to single out the Eastern Wood-Pewee from other birds is by identifying its song. They tend to sing, loudly and often, during the day. Listen for three sliding notes that sound like “pee-a-weeeee” and you’ll know who the afternoon’s performer is: the Eastern Wood-Pewee.

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