Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds are a dime-a-dozen in South Dakota. Until yesterday, when Gene Bauer texted that he had one at the Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area—Koester Prairie Unit, I had only seen this flycatcher three times in Minnesota. This sighting was my first for Rice County.

As its name implies, the Western Kingbird inhabits western North America. Western Minnesota is as far east as it normally occurs. The white outer-tail feathers distinguish this kingbird from other closely related species. Western Kingbirds have expanded their range since the late 1800s. Tree planting in the prairies facilitate this kingbird’s abundance. Fence and power lines also provide perches from which to hunt. Western Kingbird populations continue to expand (Gamble and Bergin 2012).

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