ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises

aboutbirds.dunway.com

The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.

A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960s by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.

The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.

ALL ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

PHOEBE - DOWNY WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER - BLACKPOLL WARBLER - CHIMNEY SWIFT - KINGBIRD
THE CHEWINK - SNOWFLAKE - ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK - BOBOLINK - WOOD PEWEE

BIRD WATCHING - BASIC INFORMATION

All About Birds [Articles] Identify Birds All About Birds [Articles] Bird Watching All About Birds [Articles] Bird Guide All About Birds [Articles] WildBirds

A Guide To Bird Neighbours - Part 8

KINGBIRD
(Tyrannus Tyrannus)
Flycatcher Family

Called also: TYRANT FLYCATCHER; BEE MARTIN;
[EASTERN KINGBIRD, AOU 1998]

  • Length - 8 inches. About two inches shorter than the robin.

  • Male - Ashy black above; white, shaded with ash-color, beneath A concealed crest of orange-red on crown. Tail black, Terminating with a white band conspicuous in flight. Wing feathers edged with white. Feet and bill black.

  • Female - Similar to the male, but lacking the crown.

  • Range - United States to the Rocky Mountains. British provinces To Central and South America.

  • Migrations - May. September. Common summer resident.

If the pugnacious propensity of the kingbird is the occasion of its royal name, he cannot be said to deserve it from any fine or noble qualities he possesses.

He is a born fighter from the very love of it, without provocation, rhyme, or reason. One can but watch with a degree of admiration his bold sallies on the big, black crow or the marauding hawk, but when he bullies the small inoffensive birds in wanton attacks for sheer amusement, the charge is less entertaining. Occasionally, when the little victim shows pluck and faces his assailant, the kingbird will literally turn tail and show the white feather.

His method of attack is always when a bird is in flight; then he swoops down from the telegraph pole or high point of vantage, and strikes on the head or back of the neck, darting back like a flash to the exact spot from which he started. By these tactics he avoids a return blow and retreats from danger. He never makes a fair hand-to-hand fight, or whatever is equivalent in bird warfare.

It is a satisfaction to record that he does not attempt to give battle to the catbird, but whenever in view makes a grand detour to give him a wide berth.

The kingbird feeds on beetles, canker-worms, and winged insects, with an occasional dessert of berries. He is popularly supposed to prefer the honeybee as his favorite tidbit, but the weight of opinion is adverse to the charge of his depopulating the beehive, even though he owes his appellation bee martin to this tradition.

One or two ornithologists declare that he selects only the drones fur his diet, which would give him credit for marvelous sight in his rapid motion through the air. The kingbird is preeminently a bird of the garden and orchard.

The nest is open, though deep, and not carefully concealed. Eggs are nearly round, bluish white spotted with brown and lilac. With truly royal exclusiveness, the tyrant favors no community of interest, but sits in regal state on a conspicuous throne, and takes his grand flights alone or with his queen, but never with a flock of his kind.

WOOD PEWEE
(Contopus Virens)
Flycatcher Family

  • Length - 6.50 inches. A trifle larger than the English sparrow.

  • Male - Dusky brownish olive above, darkest on head; paler on throat, lighter still underneath, and with a yellowish tinge on the dusky gray under parts. Dusky wings and tail, the wing coverts tipped with soiled white, forming two indistinct bars.

  • Whitish eye-ring. Wings longer than tail.

  • Female - Similar, but slightly more buff underneath.

  • Range - Eastern North America, from Florida to northern British provinces. Winters in Central America.

  • Migrations - May. October. Common summer resident

About Birds - Site Index

Bird Neighbors - Part 1 - Bird Neighbors - Part 2
Bird Neighbors - Part 3 - Bird Neighbors - Part 4
Bird Neighbors - Part 5 - Bird Neighbors - Part 6
Bird Neighbors - Part 7 - Bird Neighbors - Part 8
Bird Neighbors - Part 9 - Bird Neighbors - Part 10

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