Western Kingbird up close, almost too close!

Western Kingbird up closeWestern Kingbird up close – Nikon D7100, f9, 1/800, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 314mm, natural light, not called, baited or set up

Three days ago I was caught off guard when this Western Kingbird flew in and hovered up close to me, almost too close actually.  I clipped the tail and both wing tips even though I had backed up my zoom when I saw the kingbird flying my direction. Some of the shots in the series of images I took of it were blurry nightmares but with this one my focus locked on the bird’s face. I wish the entire bird were in focus but even at f9 I didn’t have enough depth of field to obtain that focus and sharpness. My minimum focusing distance with my lens is around 7 feet and if this kingbird had been any closer it would have all been a blur.

The Western Kingbirds I have been photographing don’t seem to be predictable in their actions although there are a few of their behaviors I can predict most of the time I am not sure which way they will fly, whether they will hover or if they will face me when they take off or land.

I guess I just need to observe and photograph them more!


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Thanks! I’ll take a kingbird, Eastern or Western any way at all. Have not seen any here (Virginia) this year and
    I’m bereft. They are so cool and elegant!

  2. We get these aggressive birds in our backyard trees on occasion. Beautiful close up nice to see. Thanks!

  3. I really like the way the bird fills the frame…the detail is wonderful! Great shot….

  4. Wow. What an amazing thing to see.

  5. Magical timing Mia – congratulations!

  6. Jane Chesebrough

    Wow now that is close!. I guess it is watching you just as much as you are watching it.

  7. Duck! ;)
    Not an ID but something I had to do. .Great Photo and yes too close for safety of the viewer

  8. oh WOW!!! Gorgeous!!!!!

  9. Yes, almost, but it was absolutely beautiful, and close.

  10. That’s true. We stop and sometimes they fly away before you get there. Or they fly away when you pull up and bring up the camera. Or they just sit and pose for you the longest time. Silly birds. Gotta love them.
    And love your photo.

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