Kingfishers Pocket Journal

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Model: PJ-64
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Ranging over most of the U.S. and Canada as far north as Alaska, the belted kingfisher lives wherever there is water—seacoasts, brooks, creeks, lakes, ponds or mountain streams. Kingfishers are chunky, compact birds with a shaggy crest and long pointed bills. They are one of the few birds where the female is more colorful than the male; she has rufous flanks and a band of chestnut across her belly.

The kingfisher utters a loud, penetrating rattle as it follows the course of a waterway. Flying well below treetops with a peculiar uneven wingbeat, it patrols a stream or lakeshore, stopping at favorite perches from which it watches for prey. Small fish form the majority of its diet, but kingfishers also feed on frogs, crayfish and insects. The kingfisher may dive from a perch, or hover 20-40 feet above water with rapidly beating wings, preparing for its plunge. After seizing a fish, it returns to a perch where it beats the fish on a limb, tosses it into the air, and swallows it headfirst.

Kingfishers nest in sand or gravels banks. Both members of a mated pair excavate a horizontal tunnel up to 7 feet long, digging with their feet and bills. This may take up to 3 weeks depending on soil conditions. Nests may be some distance from water; the presence of suitable banks is the limiting factor.

Kingfishers have many legends and superstitions surrounding them. They are generally considered symbols of peace and prosperity.

artwork by John Sill

text by Steve Sierigk

Tags: birds,