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Eastern Kingbird

Posted on Jun 5, 2016

Eastern Kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus) take a very long trip to arrive in our fields, grasslands, and farms as they spend their winters in South America. This impressive species is named “Tyrannus tyrannus” for a reason as individuals readily attack nearly any other avian species that is in or around their territory or nest. I found what I presume were two late migrants taking a diurnal break on Friday, and their preoccupation with battling and squawking at one another let me snap a few close photos as these bold birds ignored me.

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I remember looking at Peterson Field Guides when I was a child and thinking about how cool it must be to see one of these birds flash their orange/yellow/red crown feathers – that would be why they are called “King”. I have seen it before, but in this case I suppose the top bird was not animated enough to show off its crown, perhaps because it was only squabbling with a member of its species and not something it could easily scare away. That will be a future photographic target, but I will take these shots and an exciting memory…for now!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator