Sunday, May 20, 2012

King of the West: Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds are big, yellow, and ornery, much like Big Bird from Sesame Street. Unlike Big Bird from Sesame Street, they're aesthetically pleasing and can fly really well. What's not to like?

Western Kingbirds can be found throughout most of the western half of the U.S. in the spring and summer months, but they seem to be especially populous in Texas. While on a trip to Dallas last weekend, I had the pleasure of observing these feisty flycatchers once more.

Though I saw lots of them during my morning birding trip to Cedar Hill State Park, I hadn't gotten good pictures yet. Maria and I were being driven into downtown Dallas by Clare Daly and Lauren Legasse, two excellent and accommodating friends, when we spied a Kingbird perched atop a sign. Upon hearing my panicked cries, Clare swung the car around and we all transitioned perfectly into safari birding mode--it was marvelous. The Kingbird flew across the street to a new perch, but using great teamwork we all got in the right position to get some shots. Well done team!

He adopted a rusted iron cable for as his perch of terror. From this lofty throne, his majesty would descend to terrorize the fire ant minions living on the ground below, claiming the sacrifices one at a time.

Another reason to love Kingbirds: They massacre fire ants--truly, a King worthy of adulation and praise.