Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Eastern Kingbird Reigns Over my Yard

I enjoy sitting far out in the backyard to watch the birds fly in and out of my neighbor's dying Ash tree.  Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy seeing the ash tree die, but lots of birds appreciate dying trees, especially woodpeckers.  Other birds like flycatchers enjoy the clear line of sight of provided by high, dead branches. In recent weeks, I've watched Eastern Phoebes and Wood Pee Wee's fly out from these perches to catch an insect "on the wing" and then return again to their post. Even Red-headed Woodpeckers, who also catch insects in mid-air, have visited this tree time and again. 

But this entry is about an Eastern Kingbird, one I saw on August 2 (yes, I'm late to post). I don't typically see the Kingbird, not in my backyard, so I took note as he flew from the popular ash toward dead limbs poking above some cedar trees. He sat there just long enough to let me catch this one image.  

Kingbirds have a reputation for being aggressive with other Kingbirds and birds, generally, during the breeding season, which I can definitely vouch for having seen two Kingbirds "slug it out." I'm inserting here an excerpt from my July 2011 post on the topic (yes, I said 2011 . . . I've been posting here for a long time):

"Then an intrusive shrieking filled the air as I watched two kingbirds, descending from above, wrestle in the air before me, about twenty feet away. A duo of furious flapping wings, they spun, descending through the air like a tiny tornado until one dropped, falling six or seven feet into the tall, thick bank grasses. Mesmerized I watched as the fallen kingbird flopped and flapped within the grass while my black lab Bridget rushed to investigate. “No, Bridget!” I demanded, my tone giving her reason to pause as the kingbird found its bearings and lifted into the air, flying toward a towering Norway Spruce. "

No wonder, they're called "Kingbirds" because they're in control! And, of course, they're regal in appearance with a white underside, a dark backside, and a neat white trim to their tail.  Oddly enough, these insect-eating combatants become quite friendly with one another once they return to their wintering grounds in South America, where they enjoy socializing in large flocks and supping on succulent fruits. I guess it's hard to be "hard-headed" on vacation. 

Until next time . . . Keep birds in your heart!

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