Western Kingbird on Barbed Wire

Western Kingbirds (Tyrannus verticalis) appear to have had a wonderful nesting season here in Utah because there are plenty of young birds perching on wires and branches loudly demanding food from the frazzled looking adults.

Western KingbirdWestern Kingbird on barbed wire – Nikon D200, f10, 1/750, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 264mm, natural light

When I first spotted this adult Western Kingbird on Monday on the road from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge auto tour loop it was perched below a cross beam on an old fence and it appeared to be resting in the shade of the beam above it. Can’t say I blame the bird because at only 9:55 am the temperature was already close to 90. When the Kingbird moved to this strand of barbed wire it kept the upper portion of its wings slightly away from its body, probably to help keep it cooler.

I was fairly close to this bird, I had to back my zoom up so the bird would fit in the frame without clipping parts of it and I selected f10 so I would have a bit more depth of field to get the bird and barbed wire sharply in focus.




  1. Mathew July 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    A photograph of a kingbird perched on wire fencing may not seem remarkable, but in my opinion this underscores an important aspect–the success of flycatcher species such as kingbirds on account of human effects. The Western Kingbird is part of a complex of four species in the U.S. which appear to be similar.

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you Mathew, I hope to photograph the other three of the complex!

  2. Ingrid July 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I love the tone matching between bird and wire.

    • Mia McPherson July 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      Ingrid, I thought of “pewter” when I saw this image on my monitor. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Stu July 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Great shot Mia.

    • Mia McPherson July 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks Stu, they look very natural on barbed wire because I see them there so often.

  4. Susan July 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Awesome capture Mia!

  5. Bob Zeller July 11, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Excellent capture of the WK, Mia.

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