The eastern phoebe is easily identified by its call, which is the same as its name. Otherwise it is a some what plain little brown bird. The eastern phoebe does have one distinction however that no other bird in the world can claim. The eastern phoebe was the first bird that was banded in North America. In 1840 John James Audubon attached silver thread to the legs of several eastern phoebe nestlings to see if they would return to the area the following year. He did manage to locate two of the "banded" birds that returned and nested in the area.