July 05, 2005

Evil 'urban' kingbirds

Guest post by Steve Bodio.

I am always fascinated by how animals and plants change their habits to adapt to humans. I live in a very small town, on a dirt road, but my house is virtually "downtown". For the last few years I have been almost unable to sleep in May and June because of the incessant mindless territorial (?) chatter of the western kingbirds that nest in the cottonwood overlooking my bedroom window--I have to resort to loud fans, air conditioners, closed windows...

I mentioned to Libby that, when I used to live in a Forest Service compound outside of town, I had kingbirds, but they were silent at night. Her sensible reply: "They didn't have streetlights". Which we certainly do have, as well as other lights.

I also had pygmy owls there, serious avian predators; any chattering damn birds would have been eliminated quickly. I have a nagging question: could we be selecting for dysfunctional (not to mention annoying) behavior?

3 comments:

Chas S. Clifton said...

You and my dear wife can form a kingbird-hating club, since they used to chatter outside our bedroom when we lived in CaƱon City.

On the other hand, there is Merrill Gilfillan's imagined flag (right?) for the High Plains, featuring a kingbird in a Siberian elm...

Steve Bodio said...

Perfect combination of native and invader. But I still hate the bastards.

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