ARTISTS AND  BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Bringing Home the Bacon (Bugs)"

Western Kingbird

        I love to be outdoors breathing the fresh air and seeing what’s growing in my garden. High up in the trees I heard "pi-pi-pi-pi . . . pi-pi-pi-pi-pi . . ." over and over, like someone wanted to be noticed for sure. And someone was there, three of them, choosing to sit on leafless branches, crying their eyes out. They were acting like a bunch of hungry kids, begging for food. "pi-pi-pi-pi . . . . pi-pi-pi-pi-pi . . ." Quickly I ran back into the house for my binoculars. Please birds, please stay right where you are until I get back. I got my binoculars and rushed back to see if the birds western
                                                        kingbirdwere still there. They were, and there was a fourth bird, a bit larger with something in its bill. Food! The parent wasn’t bringing home the bacon, but bringing home the bugs. It was a sight to see. It was a Western Kingbird bringing food to three hungry juveniles.

        The Western Kingbird is a familiar summertime sight across western United States. Kingbirds have broad shoulders and a fairly large head. The bill is straight, the wings long, and the tail is square-tipped. The belly is yellow, the chest and throat white. Kingbirds are best spotted by their hunting techniques. They perch on post or branch and then fly out to snatch an insect from the air or dart down to the ground for creepy crawlies and then take the loot back to their perches. This specie is fierce enough to defend its territory from much larger birds. Remember, not everything has been written about birds yet. Birds continue to surprise us when we take time to watch.

        Wherever you are, look and listen for the Western Kingbird. They seem to be all over southern Utah. Come fall they will migrate south clear to Central America and beyond. Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. If you have questions about the Western Kingbird, or need information about any Red Cliffs Audubon activities, call 435 673-0996.


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