Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eastern Kingbird

The Eastern Kingbird is a favorite bird of my friend, Tom Gerber.  Formerly of Cedarburg, now of Florida, Tom has been on me quite a bit about finding an Eastern Kingbird.  I’ve tried to fill his request, but I can’t find birds on demand; it doesn’t work that way.  I take them as they come.  He knows that, but you have to know Tom to know that no excuse will satisfy him.  Tom Gerber and patience have never been introduced. 

Eastern Kingbirds are widespread and common, so I can’t explain my failure to find one other then to say they fall into the category of LBB’s (little brown birds) that everyone sees yet fails to distinguish.  It has taken me quite a while to find enough Eastern Kingbirds to post.  They are songbirds in the general category of tyrant flycatchers (flying insect-eaters), which means they are extremely fast and extremely difficult to photograph in the air.  I haven’t been lucky enough to find many perched on branches either. 

This one is a juvenile.  I found him on a branch in Mequon, Wisconsin.  He looked to be waiting to be fed.   When startled, he flew away, but struggled only far enough to feel safe again.  He likely was in his home territory and either unwilling or unable to stray out of it. 

The males, females and juveniles all look alike…soft black and white to shades of gray.  They have the slightest hook at the tip of their bill.  They are sleek, slender and agile enough to catch flying insects as their prey darts and dives to avoid capture. Like all flycatchers, they are fun to watch. 

Maybe now that I’ve found these three my luck in finding Eastern Kingbirds will improve and I will find them everywhere.  

I can only hope and Tom will be pleased…finally…possibly…unlikely…damn!