Eastern Kingbird, Mississippi River, Green Island Wetlands, iowa

Yes, it does not just looks like it, the Eastern Kingbird actually regurgitated pellets of insect exoskeletons while I took a burst of images. While here in its breeding grounds during the summer, the Eastern Kingbird eats mostly flying insects. In the winter along the Amazon in Brazil, however, it has a completely different lifestyle: it travels in flocks and eats fruit. (source: allaboutbirds.org)

The Eastern Kingbird is a summer resident in the Green Island Wetlands, Iowa but I have seen them at several other places along the Mississippi River or in side valleys. I have photographed them on many different occasions, but what I have not managed yet is a photo with a crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers on its head, that is usually concealed. When it encounters a potential predator the kingbird may simultaneously raise its bright crown patch, stretch its beak wide open to reveal a red gape, and dive-bomb the intruder.

Any time I take a picture of a critter or bird and like to share it here in the blog I try to educate myself by reading about the species. The sources are endless these days. Beside a number of good guide books in the home library we can use apps on our cell phones, or some really good websites. One I can highly recommend to my fellow wildlife photographers is allaboutbirds.org from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

And this all seems to be an endless cycle for the bird lover and photographer. Like in the case of the Eastern Kingbird, I read about its concealed crown feathers and now I’m motivated and fired up to look for this moment and capture it on “digital film”…