We cared for a juvenile kingbird at Wild Bird Rehab (WBR) over the summer. I thought he was an incredible sweetheart. Even after he was able to self-feed, he would sometimes beg me to hand-feed him mealworms, one of his favorite snacks. When he was still a nestling, I remember listening to my co-worker coax him into gapeing by playfully calling him "Your Majesty."
"Doesn't Your Majesty want another bite before bed? I think Your Majesty should certainly have some water, too. Wouldn't want Your Majesty to become dehydrated, now would we?"
He would look at her regally and deign to accept her gifts of food and water. That kingbird, he was quite the character and definitely a house favorite. We were all a little sad to see him go from our nursery at the end of the summer.
Imagine my reaction this afternoon when I found that a listserv member at MOBIRDS had posted a link to the following article (excerpted here) regarding kingbirds:
Highly territorial, the kingbirds felt the hawks were intruding on their space, said Gaines, a Westminster scientist who helps develop vaccines and tests used in veterinary medicine.
Gaines had focused his camera on one red-tailed hawk because the bird had been screaming. As he followed the hawk across the sky, a kingbird dive-bombed the hawk.
The hawk, which is not a predator of the kingbird, flew as fast as it could from the kingbird. For a moment it appeared the kingbird had stopped attacking. But then it began the pursuit again and — to Gaines amazement — landed on the hapless red-tail's back.
"He rode the hawk for 25 yards. The hawk was not trying to fight back — it was just trying to get out of there," said Gaines.
As the kingbird rode bareback on the hawk, it pecked away at the hawk's head.
"They (the kingbirds) are not afraid of anything," said Gaines. "Until this happened, I had never seen one perch on a hawk's back."
I told you, you just can't fuck with Your Majesty!!
Om shanti ;)