SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finally found a Cassin's Kingbird nest in pinyon tree

Having seen several Cassin's Kingbird pairs in the Breeding Bird Atlas-IIblocks I am surveying, I have been frustrated that I hadn't spotted where any were nesting. This species "nest predominately in pinyon/juniper (12 of 17 occurrences)" according to the Colo Breeding Bird Atlas I. So I was pleased to find this nest just a few miles southwest of Canon City.

This pic shows off nicely the highly contrasting white throat that is one of the field marks that differentiates Cassin's from Western Kingbirds (though it takes considerable experience to reliably identify a Cassin's by this field mark, and it's always best to use several field marks such as their distinctive call and tail feathers). I couldn't get a better photo of the nest because the parent bird was distressed with my being 35 feet away and I don't think it's ethical to stress nesting birds just to get a better pic. I was able to see the nestlings from my car (80-90 feet away and with me in my car at this distance the parent birds were not distressed) using my scope.

Though the Colo Breeding Bird Atlas-I noted that Cassin's Kingbirds "tend to nest in dense riparian creek habitat", this pair was in a dry hillside.

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