We are happy to see (and hear) Eastern Phoebes in the backwoods. They were absent last summer after a hard frost in May. Whenever I band a phoebe, I am following in the steps of John James Audubon. In 1804 in Pennsylvania, he tied small strands of silver thread to the legs of phoebe nestlings. Birds returning the next year still bore the threads. Most phoebes winter in the southeastern United States, some continuing south into Mexico.