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

Meet the Fab Four

The photos for this post were shot over the course of several days, of four recently fledged eastern kingbirds and their parents.

I don’t think that I have to do any build up for the photos, so ladies and gentlemen, meet the fab four!

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

It wasn’t long before one of their parents, I suspect the father, swooped down, and shoved some food down one of the young bird’s throat.

Adult eastern kingbird feeding its young

Adult eastern kingbird feeding its young

I say that I think that it was the father, as he only took time to look over his shoulder…

Adult eastern kingbird  and its young

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

…then he was off to find more food for its young.

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

At one point, one of the young thought that dad was returning…

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

…but it proved to be a false alarm.

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

A few minutes later, mom showed up with more food, the young ones sure do pay attention to where the adults are!

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

Adult eastern kingbird feeding its young

Adult eastern kingbird feeding its young

I think that the second adult was the mother, as she spent more time looking over all the young ones…

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

…checked me out thoroughly….

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

Adult eastern kingbird and its young

….decided that I didn’t present a threat to her young, then she was off.

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

So, a day or two later, there they were again.

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

I didn’t see either of the adults feed the young this time, instead, whenever one of the adults took flight to pluck an insect out of the air, it chattered non-stop to keep the attention of the young on what it was doing. I never saw any of the young go after an insect, but they watched the adults intently.

So, the next day, the fab four had each perched in a small tree by itself.

Juvenile eastern kingbird

Juvenile eastern kingbird

I shot a few photos of a couple of the young, but there’s no need to put them in this post. I wish that I had been able to catch one of the young in flight, but there was always something in the way that blocked my view. To be honest, I spent more time watching the young kingbirds capturing their own food for the first time than I did trying to shoot photos.

The same was true the next day, I was watching the young kingbirds, when this titmouse distracted me.

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

I thought that the titmouse was trying to hide from me as it crouched lower on the branch.

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

But no, it was digging a caterpillar out of the bark of the branch.

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

Juvenile titmouse

One of the fab four tried to trick the titmouse into feeding it…

Juvenile eastern kingbird

Juvenile eastern kingbird

But, it didn’t work.

Juvenile eastern kingbird

Juvenile eastern kingbird

Its siblings seemed quite amused by that.

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

Juvenile eastern kingbirds

So there you have it, short and sweet this time. 😉

On one hand, I feel bad for not having gotten photos of the kingbirds in flight, but since they are black and white birds, getting a photo of them in flight exposed correctly is hard to do, beside, it really was too much fun watching the young learn to hunt on their own.

Since then, I’ve seen the entire family spread out in the small trees in the field in the park each day, with the adults keeping a watchful eye out for hawks…

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

… or other predators. I thought it odd that when the hawk flew over, the adult kingbirds didn’t attack it immediately as I’ve often seen them do. They waited until the hawk was moving off, then chased it to attack. Maybe they did that so that the hawk wouldn’t know that the young were around?

Anyway, that’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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22 responses

  1. What a wonderful treat! There’s just something about watching young birds fledge that’s special. Thanks for sharing this!

    July 14, 2014 at 2:25 am

    • Thanks, it was a treat to watch them in action.

      July 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

  2. Gorgeous pictures, specially the one with all the beaks open wide!

    July 14, 2014 at 3:46 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      July 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

  3. Great shots of the Kingbirds. Love your third pic!

    July 14, 2014 at 5:15 am

    • Thanks Bob!

      July 14, 2014 at 8:56 am

  4. It’s great to know that the little ones made the grade and can find food on their own. Here’s wishing them a long and happy life!

    July 14, 2014 at 6:14 am

    • Thanks Allen! I’ll relay the message when I see them today.

      July 14, 2014 at 8:57 am

  5. Great capture on the Fab Four.

    July 14, 2014 at 8:17 am

    • Thank you Judy!

      July 14, 2014 at 8:56 am

  6. What a great photo essay! U really have a knack with capturing the animal’s behavior!!!

    July 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    • Thanks Lori! That knack only seems to work when there’s no one else around.

      July 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm

  7. That’s awesome you got to see the juvenile kingbirds for several days! I would love to see the fledglings in the nest I shot up north in our fishing lake. We’ll see if they are around this coming weekend when we go up, maybe we’ll get lucky! These shots are great and really convey their behavior and attitude so well. I especially like that third shot with all four of their mouths open!

    July 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    • Thank you Amy! I hope that you have as good of luck as I did!

      July 15, 2014 at 2:51 am

  8. Very good work.

    July 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    • Thanks Tom!

      July 15, 2014 at 2:51 am

  9. I really enjoyed this post. Good pictures of all the family.

    July 15, 2014 at 11:49 am

    • Thanks Clare! I have a few more of the family that I have shot since then that will make it into a future post.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm

  10. Oh my goodness, what a fantastic series of the Fab Four this is. Seeing their mouths wide open with such a pop a color. What an experience to be able to watch this little family in action. Thanks for finding and sharing them with us.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    • Thanks Emily! I don’t usually try to get that close to young birds, but these four and their parents seemed okay with my photographing them.

      July 16, 2014 at 2:35 am

  11. Delightful fledglings, and great photos.

    July 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

    • Thanks, I’ll tel them you liked them next time I see them.

      July 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm