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New news to me: the Belted Kingfisher doesn’t nest in a tree (though he may roost in one), he burrows into the bank of a stream or pond!

I caught this gentleman flying overhead yesterday at the South Beaver Pond. I’m always so intent on sneaking up on the ducks that I forget to keep an eye out for him. He doesn’t forget about me! He gives the ducks fair warning just as I approach the water, using his territorial rattling call as he makes a pass back and forth over the water.

This time I was able to capture him because I was smart enough to remember he would turn and make another pass over his territory. It’s as though he is saying, “You are in MY space! I own this area from here … to here!” as he sounds his shrill rattling call.

You can tell it’s a gentleman because he is wearing a belt around his waist. Lady Kingfishers don’t need belts. (I love when Nature does that, just like the Northern Flicker gals don’t have mustaches.)

I captured a photo of this same fellow at the end of February (see the snow?). I was hoping to see that he had a girlfriend, but I haven’t captured her image as of yet.

I’ve seen a pair of kingfishers perched on the wires alongside National Avenue, in front of Yard Birds, so I know they are females around somewhere.

There must be plenty of food or I don’t imagine he would stick around this long.

From what I have read at the Birds of North America website, the Kingfisher is a solitary bird unless it is breeding season. The males select a territory to defend and wait for a woman to happen by.

Both sexes participate in burrow constructing, but it is thought that the men do most of the work. The digging — using their long, thick beaks — may take 3 day or 3 weeks, depending on the weather and soil conditions.

The tunnel entrance is generally 8- to 18-inches below the bank and may extend 2 feet (minimum) to 2 yards (or more) into the the soil.

The Belted Kingfisher, one of the most widespread landbirds in North America, remains poorly studied. Throughout the continent, it inhabits diverse aquatic habitats where it typically perches over clear open water before plunge-diving for prey—chiefly fish, but also other aquatic animals such as crayfish. Undigested remains of such prey are regularly regurgitated as pellets, which fall beneath fishing and roosting perches. By studying these pellets, some information on seasonal diets can be determined without collecting birds or directly observing their foraging behavior. —Birds of North America

Wow! So much to know about this gentleman. I may have to abandon my duck stalking to watch him more closely.

BTW, I finally spotted the elusive little bird that I have been chasing around the North Elk Pond (North Elk Pond, South Beaver Pond and Middle Marsh are all names that I have chosen for the various areas of my backyard — you won’t find them on a map). He is a Marsh Wren.

It’s a new bird for my Life List, I’m excited.

I tell you more about this fascinating bird once I capture a better image of him. I’ll be chasing him around as soon as the sun comes out from behind the clouds again. His call reminds me of a song sparrow’s call on a super-speedy rewind. Go here to listen to the music of his marshy melody.

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One Comment

  1. http://danish769.blogspot.com/
    hey nice article plz vist my site too its all about kingfisher .. have a good day .. take care


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