[Ontbirds] Western Kingbird and three hybrid juveniles, Windsor, Aug 10

JAMES HOLDSWORTH jmholdsworth at rogers.com
Wed Aug 10 17:24:21 EDT 2011


This morning, while doing some late season odonate surveys in the Windsor area, 
I happened upon an adult Western Kingbird with three fledged [and still begging] 
hybrid [presumed] Eastern x Western Kingbird juveniles.

In terms of plumage, the juveniles were very pale gray on the crown, nape and 
mantle, with a very distinct / contrasting black mask. The upperparts showed no 
brown or olive tones at all. The wings [secondaries, coverts and tertials] were 
all edged in buff-white. The tail was contrastingly black, with striking white 
outer-tail feathers and pale tips, forming a narrow tail band. The throat was 
white [or nearly so] and the chest was washed with some pale gray. The 
underparts were washed with pale lemon yellow to the undertail coverts.

I watched this group, on and off, for over an hour and observed the adult 
feeding the juveniles on several occasions. The begging calls [uttered 
endlessly] of the juveniles was a somewhat metallic ''plink'', quite different 
from the adults sharp ''bik'' call. The adult, though worn, did still have 
distinct white edges to the tail.

There were two Eastern Kingbirds in the vicinity, although I never observed any 
interaction. I am assuming Eastern hybrid parentage based on the white throat, 
overall gray colour of the upperparts, lacking brown or olive tones and the pale 
tips to the tail feathers. I have a series of photos, of OK quality, that at 
least show all the requisite marks, although I have nowhere to post them. For 
those interested, e-mail me privately and I will send them along. At some point, 
I will try to get some of the photo's posted to the OFO website.

Directions - From the intersection of Hwy 42 and Lauzon Parkway, go east a few 
hundred metres on 42 and turn left [north] on Lauzon Road. Go to the end of the 
road [about 1.5 km] and park where the road terminates at the RR tracks. Go west 
about 200m along the powerline ROW to the large red and white hydro tower. The 
group was spending much of it's time in this general area, on the wires and in 
low shrubs. They did range quite widely however, as I watched them go as far 
west as the edge of Lauzon Parkway and across the tracks to the north [an area 
that has lots of good habitat].

When I left, three of the birds were along Lauzon Road, on the wires that run in 
front of the large hydro station. Given that this group appears recently 
fledged, I would expect them to be in the area for sometime to come. The site is 
rather prairie-like, with stuff like Tall Ironweed growing in abundance and I 
have no doubt that these birds nested in this location. Pretty cool.

James Holdsworth, Biological Consulting Services
14 Marian St,
RR#1 Woodstock, On, N4S-7V6
226-228-0093 [NEW][cell]
jmholdsworth at rogers.com 

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