05 August 2015

Occurrence of Kingbirds in Urban Omaha

Kingbirds have been especially vocal these days among the urbanscape of eastern-central Omaha. Hearing them at several distinct places it became obvious to convey with details their geographic presence. During the past few days of a languishing summer, records have been kept for places where the call of the kingbird can be heard.

The Western Kingbird can be very obvious to those that listen.

They have been seen in years past notably at Kiwanis Park and Levi Carter Park in northern Omaha. Here are a couple of pictures from those past times.

This summer-time, these expressive flycatchers are present amidst the urban reality of Omaha. Their presence is a soothing sound in comparison to early morning dumpster action or the minions on motorcycles that prefer mechanical noise which is actually a nuisance.

These are some of the places where there are kingbirds, typically the western, unless otherwise noted.

  • Young Park just south of the UNOmaha campus: the first bird heard in the morning on July 25
  • UNOmaha Campus: heard on July 29 and then again on August 2nd as they linger about the area just east of the Criss Library
  • Blackstone District: on July 29 they were heard near 40th and Farnam Streets and also about 36th and Dewey Street; obvious as well on August 4th at the parking lot at the northeast corner of 38th and Farnam Streets
  • at least two on July 29 just east of Walnut Hill school at 45th and Hamilton Street; two days later, an eastern Kingbird was heard then seen in the same locale, among the trees on the south side of the parking lot on the south side of Hamilton Street
  • Izard Industrial Zone, a place of little greenery and devoted to industrial business: three at 44th and Nicholas Street, perched on the wires on July 30th; then two again at 45th and Izard Street on August 2nd. On August 3rd there were two Western Kingbirds and an Eastern Kingbird, westward at the corner of 46th and Nicholas Street. The Eastern Kingbird was atop a snag of the tree, and the Western Kingbird had to move to a lower limb due to the insistence of the domineering Eastern Kingbird.
  • Midtown District: an adult feeding a juvenile at 33rd and Dodge Street, a place which may seem to not be a habitat place conducive to birds breeding, yet there they were being so active as kingbirds tend to be.
  • Aksarben Village: it was a hot Sunday, but worth it to first hear and then see a Red-tailed Hawk family, the fledglings being vocal and appreciated by some local folks near Pacific Street. Further along the sound of the kingbirds were heard. A nice family portrait was taken of them about the parking lot behind the Marriott Residence Inn. Elsewhere, there were two sightings of single birds, one at the south side of the First Data parking lot near Pine Street.

    Three young looking to a parent for probably something to eat!

  • the most recent sighting to consider was on the morning on August 5th at the Walnut Hill Reservoir. While bicycling past, they were heard so an interlude happened to see where the birds were. There were three Western Kingbirds about among the treetops on the west side, along 40th Street. They may have been a family group that moved to this territory from just to the north as noted on July 29th at 40th and Hamilton Streets, as no kingbirds were heard or seen on very recent visits to this specific locality.

These records indicate how the Western Kingbird can be pervasive within urban Omaha. Their places of residence as determined can be harsh and stark, yet they are obviously successful in raising young. Their presence adds to the avian assets of the urban Omaha community.

This partial survey is interesting, and with further consideration and contributions there could be a greater realization of another special feature of urban birds of Omaha. Specifics are important to allow temporal comparisons.


Sam Manning reported on NEBirds of seeing at least 44 Western Kingbirds during a drive on August 5th along the street around the east side of Eppley Airport.


There have been two more recent and surprising sightings of the Eastern Kingbird.

Saddle Creek Environs
One seen early on the afternoon of 12 August in the treeline along the slight bluff behind the Ace Hardware Store and Walmart Neighborhood Market. This sighting was just west of Wakely Street. Another report from NEBirds, also on 12 August, confirms the presence of this species among this urbanity. With the arrival of the WalMart neighborhood market, the landscape was signifianly changed. Enough so that that a pair of kingbirds made it their home for this season.
Blackstone District
Two, including one with a "fuzzy look" to some feathers and possibly a younger juvenile. Noted on the utility line behind the Colonial Hotel and Apartments at 38th and Farnam Streets. It was across 38th Street to the east, where Western Kingbirds were previously noted.

A single Western Kingbird was easily seen on the afternoon of 20 August at 29th and Grant Streets, perched on the wires. Just to the south, heavy equipment was destroying trees, so habitat was vividly being destroyed in the neighborhood.