Last week while I was up in Box Elder County looking for birds I saw several juvenile Western Kingbirds begging to be fed by the adults that were nearby. I couldn’t get any decent images of the kingbird juveniles because of my distance from them and the fact that they were partially hidden by railings from a corral that was painted green but those juveniles did remind me of photos I had taken last year of some juvenile kingbirds next to a different country road in Box Elder County that I had never processed.
Juvenile Western Kingbird next to a country road – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Juvenile Western Kingbirds may look sweet like this one does perched on a fence but they can be rather pushy when it comes to demanding food from their parents and they are also quite noisy too while they are begging.
Curious Western Kingbird juvenile – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1600, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
At this age the juvenile Western Kingbirds are beginning to learn to hunt on their own but the adult kingbirds still feed them because they miss more prey when they hunt than they catch. It is fun to watch them try though and I feel myself cheering them on when they dive towards the ground after prey.
Juvenile Western Kingbird perched on a fence in Box Elder County – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The Western Kingbird juveniles in these photos are just a little bit older than the ones I saw last week. I hope I will see more juveniles this summer that I can photograph while they beg and learn to hunt on their own where I don’t have to deal with the rails of a corral being in the way.
Life is good.
Some 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.