Two-headed Juvenile Western Kingbird? A Mere Optical Illusion

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Western Kingbird siblingsWestern Kingbird siblings – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I spent a few hours on Antelope Island State Park yesterday morning and although there weren’t many birds to be found that allowed a close enough approach to photograph them I sill enjoyed visiting the island. I only photographed two species of birds, a single California Gull who was having trouble staying on top of one of the campground shelters and a family of Western Kingbirds. I really didn’t think there would be anything great or special in the photos I took yesterday because all of the birds were on man made perches, in fact I loaded them into my computer and didn’t even look at them for several hours.

As I scrolled through the thumbnails of the photos I took yesterday morning on the island I saw this one and laughed out loud. This image kind of looks like I photographed a two-headed juvenile Western Kingbird but it is really an optical illusion. When the young kingbird in front stretched its wing the wing covered all of the sibling in the back except for its head which happened to be aligned with the neck of the bird in front.

I feel like this photo isn’t all that good because of the metal post and fence material but it made me laugh and I needed that. We all need laughter. And birds.

Life is good.



  1. hummingbird lover August 5, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Hi! Sweet little birds! Have a great day you 2 ! Going to be hot here!Good shooting today Love ya’s

  2. David Sparks August 4, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Wow! Conjoined twin Western Kingbirds. A real rarity. I really like the wing position and the background. The fence doesn’t bother me because that is where I see Kingbirds 90% of the time. I just call it a contemporary perch.

  3. Elephants Child August 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Smiles (and birds) NEVER go astray.

  4. April Olson August 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I was happy to see more Western Kingbirds yesterday at BRMBR than I have been seeing lately. The were not as many birds at the refuge as last year this time. Granted they have more marsh water this year to spread out on, there are large groups of swallows, Franklin’s Gulls and Black -necked Stilts and of course coots, but other than that it was sparse. I was surprised at the lack of American White Pelicans. I wonder if their year was not successful.

  5. Patty Chadwick August 4, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Can you imagine trying to feed this “two-headed bird”???!!!!!

  6. Rosemary Harris August 4, 2017 at 9:04 am

    This is a neat image, love it.

  7. Laura Culley August 4, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Yes, laughter is sorely needed in these times. Thank you so much for sharing it! And what a serendipitous capture! YAY for you!

  8. Liz Cormack August 4, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Great shot & definitely laugh worthy.

  9. fulvio montanari August 4, 2017 at 4:42 am

    I guess the eastern k is rare where u r , I saw 1 yesterday in southern CT and got a pic with cannon hs 60x

    • Mia McPherson August 4, 2017 at 4:48 am

      Fulvio, we do have Eastern Kingbirds here and I wouldn’t cal them rare but I don’t see as many of them as I do Western Kingbirds.

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