Adult Western Kingbird Perched on Rusty Barbed Wire in Northern Utah

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Adult Western Kingbird perched on rusty barbed wire, Box Elder County, UtahAdult Western Kingbird perched on rusty barbed wire – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500,  Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Barbed wire is everywhere in the West, people have fought about fencing since the pioneers moved out this way. I hate when birds and wildlife get tangled up in it like Galileo, the Short-eared Owl that I helped to rescue, did two years ago. Love it or hate it though that damned barbed wire is here to stay and will be in my photos as long as I photograph birds.

I don’t mind old barbed wire in my photos because once it gets rusty it isn’t so jarring to my aesthetic senses, it is that brand new, shiny wire that gets me.

Last week I photographed this adult Western Kingbird perched on rusty barbed wire up in northern Utah with spring greenery behind it and I liked the greens, yellows, grays and whites in the photo. Because of our high temperatures in the Salt Lake Valley during the summer that “spring green” soon turns to tans and browns. Except for the irrigated lawns and fields that is.

Life is good.


Western Kingbird facts and information:


  • Western Kingbirds are grayish on top, have whitish chests and throats, yellow bellies, black tails edged in white, large heads with heavy, straight bills.
  • Western Kingbirds are “tyrants” and will attack much larger birds that come near their nests.
  • Western Kingbirds are migratory.  They spend winters in southern Mexico and Central  America.
  • Western Kingbirds preferred habitats include overgrown fields, forest edges, desert shrub, savannas, pastures, open areas with scattered shrubs or trees, urban environments including golf courses and parks.
  • Western Kingbirds eat insects and on occasion they may consume fruit.
  • Western Kingbirds lay 3 to 7 eggs which hatch in 18 to 19 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous.
  • A group of kingbirds can be called a “court”, “tyranny” or “coronation” of kingbirds.
  • Western Kingbirds can live up to 6 years



  1. Elephants Child May 14, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Yet another beauty. And fortunately small enough not to face problems from devil wire.

  2. Patty Chadwick May 14, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I HATE that Damned DEVIL WIRE!!! Hate the principle and what is does to animsls that get tangled up in the stuff….like horses, pronghorns and owls. As for those who use, like and don’t mind it, I like to see them wrapped.up in the damned stuff and rolled down a hill!!! The longer, gentler and slower the roll, the better!!! I won’t forget what it can do to a horse …or an owl!
    So said, that’s a beautiful image of a kingbird…love the position, compodition and the soft colors in the background.

  3. Marty K May 14, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Beautiful bird! For some reason, I’m tickled this morning by the “tyranny” vs. “coronation” choice.

  4. KathyGrahek May 14, 2018 at 6:16 am

    I don’t mind the barbed wire either…much better than the straight-line stuff. The Western in a beautiful bird; we don’t get them this far East into Wisconsin. Our Eastern Kingbirds are black and white which I’m sure you already know. An interesting bird to watch. 🙂

  5. Bob mcpherson May 14, 2018 at 6:06 am


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