Plate 2: Wood Pewee

Contopus virens

Nests & Eggs: Wood Pewee

A lovable and adventuresome citizen of highly-wooded areas in North America.

Some early morning in May, when the trees are filled with migrants, take a stroll thru the woods! The world is filled with bird notes and you listen to the symphony of sound. Then you hear a questioning whisper “pee-a-wee,” as if some stranger wondered if he should or could make himself heard. Finally you locate the bird with the plaintive note and find a little flycatcher, but since he is sitting on a well-shaded limb, you have trouble with the markings. Eventually you see that he is about sparrow-size, is a dusky olive-brown above with whitish under parts, lacks an eye ring but shows 2 distinct wing bars. That is the Eastern Wood Pewee.

Western observers will find the Western Wood Pewee to be a bird with nearly the same markings and habits. However, the western bird has a more nasal, single note song. Tho both birds place their nests on tops of limbs, the Eastern Wood Pewee builds a shallower structure, well covered with lichens and cobwebs, giving it the appearance of a knot on the limb. Both nest in rather open situations. Both birds feed heavily on insects and spiders, including many harmful weevils, flies and beetles. Unfortunately they draw no distinction between useful parasites and pests.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol II.
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the The Wood Pewee story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have the younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate II: Wood Pewee, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Eastern Wood Pewee or Western Wood Pewee at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The Pewee is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER VIII. Old Clothes and Old Houses.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Wood Pewee Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Wood Pewee
Bird picture for notebook.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the wood pewee.

Eastern Wood Pewee Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Western Wood Pewee Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:

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