Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Piggyback Bird

Western Kingbird Piggyback

Leaving work one day, I noticed some birds hanging around the perimeter fencing that I didn't immediately recognize.  Driving away, I phoned my wife and described the birds as she searched her bird identification app.  Back and forth we went, me trying to describe them and her asking questions as she narrowed her search.  Apparently I'm not too good at describing birds because we were unable to settle on an answer.

When I arrived home, I sat down with one of our bird books and began searching.  Not long into my search I found what I was looking for.  I called my wife over and showed her the picture on the page - Western Kingbird.

During lunch the next day, I moseyed out onto our nature walk with my camera hoping the birds I saw previously were still around.  I wanted a closeup photo to verify their identification.  I was pretty certain they were Western Kingbirds, but the Western Kingbird looks very similar to a couple other Kingbirds, specifically the Cassin's and Couch's Kingbirds.

As luck would have it, I managed to walk about 20 feet before seeing two of the birds sitting on some of the power lines coming into the plant.  I quickly snapped a few photos and then began waiting to see if they would provide me a closeup opportunity.  As I waited, I was able to identify six Kingbirds buzzing around, which I thought was pretty cool considering I'd never seen one until the day before.

I watched closely as one of the Kingbirds finally landed close to where I was standing.  I slowly brought my camera up and began snapping photos while walking very slowly toward it.  I was surprised to see the  Kingbird remain perched as I crept closer and closer.  Then I got another surprise as I noticed a spider (at least it looked like a spider) sitting on the bird's back.  Yes, you read that correctly, a spider getting a piggyback ride on the back of a Western Kingbird.  Nature never fails to amaze!


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