Western Kingbird nesting failure

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 I stopped visiting them because I didn’t want to disturb them during incubation at all but when I 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. I’m just sorry to know about a Western Kingbird nesting failure at all. Life is hard for nesting birds.



  1. Utahbooklover August 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I agree with those who liked this wonderful image. We get a few but the leaves are so dense, I can’t see much. Today I did see a hawk fly briefly into those trees, which was exciting. Yes, the ways of nature are not always kind.

  2. Jane Chesebrough August 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    It is a very good photo with an expressive look but alas no nest. Hope they found another spot.

  3. Kathie August 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Mia, it sure is. What a gorgeous photo of a Western Kingbird, though.

  4. Elephant's Child August 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Life is very hard for birds. Hard and often too short. Which hurts my heart – and when my species is responsibly makes me ballistically angry.

  5. Sharon Palac August 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    My nesting Kingbird pair had a similar fate. I was so excited for them nesting in one of my Ponderosa pines outside my studio window. It was a sturdy nest after the first nest had failed a windstorm. Eggs were laid and two weeks passed. To my horror, two ravens attacked the nest and ate the eggs. The pair soon abandoned the nest, but come back every two weeks or so and sit in the tree limb for a few seconds before flying off. Sadly, such is life in nature.

  6. Randy Bayne August 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Sad. Last spring (2013) I watched a Western Kingbird pair nesting in a tree not far from my office. It was fun to watch and photograph as the babies, four of them, hatched and quickly grew until they left the nest. The Kingbirds returned this year to the same spot and began rebuilding their nest. Unfortunately, not long after the nest was completed or nearly complete, a couple of my co-workers began using the abandoned street below the tree as a parking spot. The birds abandoned the nest. I don’t know where they went, but I don’t think any eggs had been laid yet.

    It is unfortunate that people pay so little attention to nature that surrounds us and lives with us. These few people just began parking there, oblivious to the nesting birds above, because it was more convenient for them than parking in the employee lot. I have not seen them parking there since the nest was abandoned.

  7. Lois Bryan August 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Thank heavens there are humans in the world who do still care, Mia. Maybe few and far between, but …

  8. Patty Chadwick August 6, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Sad, wharever it was…

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