My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus

The Eastern Kingbird is a large tyrant flycatcher native to North America.

Their call is a high-pitched, buzzing and unmusical chirp, frequently compared to an electric fence.

Their breeding habitat is open areas across North America. They make a sturdy cup nest in a tree or shrub, sometimes on top of a stump or pole. These birds aggressively defend their territory, even against much larger birds.

These birds migrate in flocks to South America.

They wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering to pick food off vegetation. They also eat berries and fruit, mainly in their wintering areas.

Some eastern kingbirds place their nests in the open while others hide nests very well. Eastern kingbirds in Southern British Columbia can nest in open fields; in shrubs over open water; high in tall trees and even in the tops of small stumps. Both male and female participate in nest defense, but females may stay on well-hidden nests longer than females with open nests who may leave nests earlier to chase away predators. Those pairs nesting in the open may be able to see predators coming earlier and rely on aggressive behavior to protect their young.

The aggressive behavior of eastern kingbirds has been shown to keep ravens and crows from finding experimental nests placed near kingbird nests. Similar experimental nests placed far from the kingbird nests were found far more often by crows and ravens. They can also recognize and remove cowbird eggs from their nests. Still, blue jays, American crows, squirrels, and tree-climbing snakes are on occasion nest predators.

On to my photos:

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

This is number 51 in my photo life list, only 299 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


2 responses

  1. I love this ! Never seen a king bird before. 🙂

    March 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    • Thanks, they love roadsides, at least around here. They perch on poles or in trees, waiting for insects.

      March 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm