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Black Phoebe eats a Checkerspot Butterfly

Today during my lunch break I looked out the window at our front yard which is starting to look quite lush. It was quite a gray day with light rain showers.

I first noticed a California towhee eating the seeds of dandelion flower heads that had lost their petals and most of their fluff.

At the same time a golden crowned sparrow hopped in the clover eating tiny bugs.

A black phoebe perched on a wooden stick in the native plant area.

It suddenly swooped down into the plants, then flew high up onto the garage roof with something that looked like a dry leaf in its beak.

I thought it odd that a bird would eat a dry leaf.

On closer examination I realized that the phoebe was eating a checkerspot butterfly!

It was a disturbing sight, and I was shocked.

But this is just a fact of life.

We don't like to think too much about what creatures eat to survive, especially these cute black phoebes. I've read that that, among other things, they eat spiders, beetles, flies, bees, grasshoppers, and termites.

This was a first for me.

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