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West LA College Tropical Kingbirds

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  • stvrtstvrt
    On Thursday I saw, for the first time, social interactions between the two birds. They flew together, often calling, around parking lot 8 between 8:30 and 9
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 1, 2005
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      On Thursday I saw, for the first time, social interactions between
      the two birds. They flew together, often calling, around parking
      lot 8 between 8:30 and 9 AM. When perched near bird #2, bird #1
      showed begging or potential mating behavior with flicking wings,
      spread tail feathers, and loud chattering.

      After this weekend I will not be able to monitor these birds until
      April 20, so just in case they decide to leave the area before the
      20th (previous wintering TRKI in So. CA typically left in late March
      or early April), I would like to know the date(s) they were last
      seen by anyone.

      Bird #1 is most often seen on/near the large "backstop" cages or
      fence in the Harold Connelly Throwing Center (dug-up field above
      parking lot 8) or in lot 8. Bird #2 is the one that roams widely,
      down to the baseball outfield fence, in parking lots 7 and 8 (and
      the green field in between), and up to the fence above lot 8. Both
      birds can "hide" for many minutes in eucalyptus when not foraging.

      Physical differences: Bird #2 has a small, white patch on top of its
      crown that shows when it tilts its head, and the tip of its upper
      mandible has a small, sharp hook (as illustrated in the Nat'l Geog.
      field guide). Bird #1 occasionally shows a tiny, pale orange spot
      in its crown, and its upper mandible is blunt at the tip - no hook.

      Map: http://library.wlac.edu/map/street1.htm (north is on the left,
      east is up)

      Don Sterba
      Culver City
    • stvrtstvrt
      I saw the birds around 9:30 to 10:00 today, after missing both of them yesterday. Bird #2 (hooked beak; the white crown spot may have grown out - or the bird
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 21, 2005
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        I saw the birds around 9:30 to 10:00 today, after missing both of
        them yesterday. Bird #2 (hooked beak; the white crown spot may have
        grown out - or the bird is using some "comb-over" technique) was in
        its favorite spot on short, steel posts between parking lots 7 and 8.
        Bird #1 (blunt beak) was in a new location, barely off campus, on the
        oil field fence near the intersection of Stocker St. and Sophomore
        Dr., not far from its traditional foraging area at the dug-up field
        above parking lot 8.

        Thank you Dick Barth, Walter Lamb, and Michael Zarky for helping me
        monitor these birds.

        Don Sterba
        Culver City
      • stvrtstvrt
        For the past three mornings (May 3-5) I ve seen both birds foraging and interacting together in the vacant lot between parking lots 7 and 8. I ve seen them
        Message 3 of 14 , May 5, 2005
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          For the past three mornings (May 3-5) I've seen both birds foraging
          and interacting together in the vacant lot between parking lots 7 and
          8. I've seen them most often (1) on the short, steel posts and trees
          along the lot's western edge and (2) in the euc's along the lot's
          northern edge. I have not seen either bird at the baseball field or the
          dug-up Throwing Center for several days, but they could still visit
          these areas.

          The birds have become somewhat territorial, chasing away intruding
          crows and other kingbirds, but I've seen no recent courtship behavior.
          One bird will occasionally "buzz" the other, invoking loud twittering
          calls, and they sometimes disappear into dense foliage where I lose
          track of them.

          Don Sterba
          Culver City
        • stvrtstvrt
          I saw both birds this morning, barely off campus in the restricted access oil field near the intersection of Stocker St. and Sophomore Dr. During the past
          Message 4 of 14 , May 12, 2005
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            I saw both birds this morning, barely off campus in the restricted
            access oil field near the intersection of Stocker St. and Sophomore
            Dr. During the past week they have ranged from the oil field down to
            the short, steel posts along the western side of the vacant lot just
            above parking lot 7.

            The latest spring date I know of for TRKI along coastal CA is May 15
            (Kimball & Jon's 1981 book). Does anyone know of a later date?

            Bird #1 now has medium brown primary tips (contrasting with dark brown
            tertials) and a blunt beak, while bird #2 has dark brown primary tips
            and a hooked beak. The beak detail is difficult to see without a scope.

            Map (north is on the left, east is up):
            http://library.wlac.edu/map/street1.htm

            Don Sterba
            Culver City
          • Kevin Larson
            Hi Don, This is an exciting record. Great work in keeping track of this! A quick search of some status books I have revealed one record of a wintering Tropical
            Message 5 of 14 , May 13, 2005
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              Hi Don,

              This is an exciting record. Great work in keeping track of this!

              A quick search of some status books I have revealed one record of a
              wintering Tropical Kingbird that remained later in two consecutive
              years. In his book "The Birds of Santa Barbara County, California,"
              Paul E. Lehman cites: "One near Devereux Slough, Goleta, 30 November
              1980 - 23 May 1981 (ph. SBMNH) and again 24 November 1982 - 8 June 1983
              remained exceptionally late."

              Kevin Larson
              Lawndale

              stvrtstvrt wrote:

              >
              > The latest spring date I know of for TRKI along coastal CA is May 15
              > (Kimball & Jon's 1981 book). Does anyone know of a later date?
              >
              >
              > Don Sterba
              > Culver City
            • jimandlauragarrett
              As of 11:30 am, Friday, May 13, one of the Tropical Kingbirds was still present at WLAC. He was flycatching from the metal fence posts that line the open field
              Message 6 of 14 , May 14, 2005
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                As of 11:30 am, Friday, May 13, one of the Tropical Kingbirds was
                still present at WLAC. He was flycatching from the metal fence posts
                that line the open field between parking lot 7 and the vacant lot
                above it. We were able to get very good views from the street that
                runs between the two lots.

                Thanks Don for the very accurate and detailed directions.

                John Garrett (and dad)
                Pasadena
              • stvrtstvrt
                This is my last update on these birds; they now are difficult to find or may be gone from the area. I last saw bird #1 on Thursday and bird #2 on Monday -
                Message 7 of 14 , May 21, 2005
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                  This is my last update on these birds; they now are difficult to find
                  or may be gone from the area. I last saw bird #1 on Thursday and bird
                  #2 on Monday - both in the off-limits oil field near the intersection
                  of Stocker St and Sophomore Dr. I have not seen either bird on campus
                  for several days.

                  Don Sterba
                  Culver City
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