It is not everyday that you get the chance to see an active bird nest. And a nest that is right next to a road that sees very little traffic at all is rarer still. You can understand, then, why I was so psyched to come across a pair of Eastern Kingbirds busy feeding their nestlings. In fact they were so busy catching bugs and stuffing them into their nestlings’ mouths that they paid me, unobtrusively digiscoping them from my car parked across the street, no mind at all.

Eastern Kingbirds at nest

Eastern Kingbirds at the nest

This wonderful encounter happened out east on Long Island last week at Gabreski Airport, shortly after my sighting of Least Bitterns. I stuck with the kingbirds for about half-an-hour and appreciated every minute of my time with them. Hopefully, I will have the chance to get out there one more time before the youngsters fledge, though it seems unlikely. After all, Eastern Kingbird nestlings fledge a little over two weeks after hatching.

All of these shots were digiscoped through my Swarovski scope using their TLS-APO adapter attached to my Canon EOS 70D. You can click the images for bigger versions.

Eastern Kingbird feeding robber fly to nestlings

The kingbird parents were continually bringing in a variety of bugs for their three nestlings to eat. Here a robber fly is about to go down the hatch.

Eastern Kingbird stuffing a robber fly into a nestling's mouth

And there it goes. How glad I am not to have to catch and feed bugs to my son. That would not be fun at all. Heck, he balks at broccoli!

Eastern Kingbird sitting on nest

Only a couple of times did either parent spend any time sitting on the young, but both times it was when the clouds had covered the sun briefly. Young birds need help regulating their temperature.

Eastern Kingbird removing a fecal sac

You know what’s worse than feeding your young bugs? Carrying away their poop in your mouth. Many species while still in the nest poop out neat little sacs of poop that are easily removed to keep the nest clean. Just be glad that you don’t have to do it!

Eastern Kingbird taking off from nest

And away goes a parent off in search of more bugs. Yum!

If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.