Perched Western KingbirdPerched Western Kingbird – Nikon D7100, f11, 1/400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light

In June I published several posts about a pair of Western Kingbirds nesting on Antelope Island State park but unfortunately that nesting attempt failed. The kingbirds had finished building the nest and the female was sitting on eggs when stopped visiting them because we didn’t want to disturb them during incubation at all but when we did return after a little more than two weeks when the chicks should have hatched there were only remnants of the nest left and no adult kingbirds in the vicinity.

It was a sturdy little nest so I can’t imagine it just fell apart and I can only think of three reasons why it might have been destroyed. The first and probably most obvious is that a person or persons may have destroyed the nest and even though I hate the thought of people being that mean or destructive it does happen. The second is that the nest was in a sagebrush and the Bison on the island like to use those bushes to rub up against to scratch themselves, the thing is that typically when Bison scratch themselves using sagebrush there is noticeable damage done to the bush itself and this sagebrush showed no signs of that. The third is that the nest may have been predated by Black-billed Magpies, Ravens or Sharp-shinned Hawks and the adult kingbirds abandoned the nest.

Whatever the reason this kingbird nest failed I am sad that the pair of Western Kingbirds didn’t succeed. Maybe they re-nested somewhere else. Life is hard for nesting birds.

Mia