An Eastern Kingbird in Southwestern Montana

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Eastern KingbirdAn Eastern Kingbird in Southwestern Montana – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Eastern Kingbirds are found in many western states and western Canada even though it has “eastern” in its name. Kind of a misleading name but the ranges of the Eastern and Western Kingbirds do overlap so I am sure some type of distinction had to be made. In the area of southwestern Montana where I photographed this Eastern Kingbird both species breed and nest and it is delightful to be able to compare them.

This might be a juvenile Eastern Kingbird though I am not absolutely certain that it is. Maybe someone viewing the image could positively identify it as an adult or juvenile.

Eastern Kingbirds; like their western counterpart, are fearless and will attack birds as large as Bald Eagles to defend their nests. They may be much smaller than the birds they attack but they are little tyrants which is how they earned their scientific name “Tyrannus tyrannus“.

By now many Eastern Kingbirds have begun to or will be shortly migrating to their wintering grounds in Central and South America and while they are gone I will miss seeing them hawking from barbed wire perches and fence posts but I look forward to seeing their antics again next spring.

I did a little research and found out that a nickname for Eastern Kingbirds is “bee martin” because of their habit of hanging around beehives and eating honey bee drones as fast as they can.

Eastern Kingbirds are fascinating, dapper looking birds that I always enjoy seeing in my viewfinder!



  1. Montanagirl September 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

    A fabulous shot of the Kingbird. I enjoy seeing and photographing them as well.

    • Mia McPherson September 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

      Thank you Montanagirl!

  2. Loekie van der Wal August 31, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Beautiful shot of this Eastern Kingbird. Today we went on a drive and saw around the same area an Eastern Kingbird just flying to a shrub and took some shots. Not as beautiful as yours though. Really hope they find the problem on your computer and can fix it sooner than later, Good luck.

    • Mia McPherson September 1, 2013 at 4:45 am

      Thanks Loekie, I hope you get some more Eastern Kingbird images!

  3. Elephant's Child August 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    What a stunning bird. And I have a weakness for the feisty birds which ‘punch well above their weight’. Thank you.

  4. Patty Chadwick August 31, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Beautiful little guy, tough as he is…love the fine, white outlining of the wing feathers…really delineates them so clearly.r

    • Mia McPherson August 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you Patty, they are dapper looking birds.

  5. Stu August 31, 2013 at 6:19 am

    This happens every time. I click on your link, no matter what mood I was in, when i see the first photo, I smile every time. Thank you Mia.

    • Mia McPherson August 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks Stu, I like knowing my images make you smile.

  6. Kim August 31, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Stunning image Mia. I love the kingbird’s colouring and the background is just perfect.

  7. Sonja Ross August 31, 2013 at 4:55 am

    There must be something appealing about them as I keep going back to the image instead of typing!

    • Mia McPherson August 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      I find them very appealing too Sonja!

  8. Eileen August 31, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Great post! Beautiful shot of the Kingbird, Mia! Have a happy holiday weekend!

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