Our intrepid neighborhood observer, photographer and cycling enthusiast Keith Johnson shot this sign posted on the corner of Larchmont Blvd and Clinton St on Monday and we’re loving it. The ornithologist cum artist who posted it obviously wants to share the news of a flock of Western Kingbirds in the neighborhood – a refreshing reminder to send our eyes up to the trees and poles and take note of the feathered friends who may be co-habitating with us in the greater Larchmont area.
Some fun facts on the Western Kingbird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
- Size & Shape & Color Western Kingbirds are fairly large flycatchers with large heads and broad shoulders. They have heavy, straight bills, long wings, and a medium-length, square-tipped tail. They are gray-headed birds with a yellow belly and a whitish chest and throat. The tail is black with white outer tail feathers that are especially conspicuous in flight.
- Behavior Easily found perched upright on fences and utility lines, Western Kingbirds hawk insects from the air or fly out to pick prey from the ground. They ferociously defend their territories with wing-fluttering, highly vocal attacks. Vocalizations include long series of squeaky, bubbling calls as well as single, accented kip notes.
- Habitat Western Kingbirds live in open habitats, where they perch on utility lines, fences, and trees. They prefer valleys and lowlands, including grasslands, deserts, sagebrush, agricultural fields, and open woodlands. They are typically found below about 7,000 feet in elevation.
We hope the bird lover behind the sign will share more ornithological sitings with the neighborhood, giving us a moment to pause, reflect and revel in the natural world that thrives around us.
UPDATE, 1/30/13: A Buzz reader recognized the artist on this poster: Christian Kasperkovitz of Elkology.com. We’ll try to get more information on her for another story.