Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the Western Kingbird.
The Western kingbird, is slightly smaller than the American Robin in size. The coloring of the Western Kingbird is a combination of gray (on the head and back), yellow (belly), white (chest and throat), and black (tail).
They feed on a wide range of insects including bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, flies, and even spiders (to name a few of their culinary choices). Depending on where they are, they may even supplement their diets with fruits such as elderberries, mulberries, and other small fruits.
They winter in southern Mexico and Central America, migrate through Mexico, and spend the late spring through early fall in the western parts of the United States (including Oklahoma).
When it comes to nesting and raising the young—the female will build the nest, but both parents will defend the nest and the tree it is located in (which consists of their main territory by the middle of breeding season). The female will incubate the eggs (usually 2-7) for not quite three weeks, and then both parents handle the feeding of the young. The young are usually able to leave the nest about two weeks after hatching. The biggest threat for kingbirds in terms of nestlings reaching maturity is predation—and this includes other animals such as snakes, squirrels, wordiest, and other birds that are able to get into the nest and kill (and eat) the young.
I would love to be able to get some pictures of fledgling kingbirds this summer—but I don’t wander the park enough to even begin to guess where they could have their nests. I’m also not in the mood to possibly irritate a couple of birds that have no problem dive bombing larger birds to scare them off. I’ll just have to keep searching the sky to see if maybe I can spot one sitting on a branch somewhere later this summer.