Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eastern Kingbird

This past week, Eastern Kingbirds returned to breed in Minnesota. They nest in most of eastern North America, and also across much of the northwest.  Erika and I often saw this species in the winter in the Amazon jungle. Unlike in the summer, wintering birds form large flocks. Seeing these kingbirds reminded us of home.

Eastern Kingbirds raise three to four young, but only one clutch per year. The thought is that procuring flying insects is energetically expensive and relatively difficult. The birds have a particularly hard time feeding large broods during wet, cool summers. Furthermore, the parents care of their young for three to five weeks, thus curtailing any time for a second brood (Murphy 1996). The fledglings at the bottom of this post are from South Dakota; I saw the bird above during Saturday's Rice Co. Big Day attempt. I will report on our census in a subsequent post.

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