Sunday, July 24, 2016

Another new avian visitor

I was weeding the corn the other morning when I heard a raucus bird call, and a showy creature landed on the post right near me, not 20 feet away. Unfortunately by the time I reached for my camera, it had flown to a post across the pond, which is a shame because otherwise I could have photographed its very pinfeathers.

At any rate, I was utterly entirely baffled by what this new bird might be.

I noticed it was able to ruffle its crest. It was showy and lovely.

By this point all you avian experts are shouting, "It's a belted kingfisher, you dufous!" And you'd be right. But despite years of working as a field biologist, I'd only seen this species once, from a distance, as it dove for fish. Never up close.

So it was quite a thrill to consult my bird book and confirm its identity.

The description points out the rusty second band on females. I had a brain fart when I first put up this blog post and thought they meant an additional rusty band (see photo at very bottom), but as it turns out what I saw was a female.

The bird hung out around our pond for a few minutes before taking off. Sadly I doubt I'll see many more since we don't have any fish in our pond. No doubt she'll be off to greener pastures, or at least bluer waters. Either way, I'm glad I had the camera on me when she flew close.

Update: Here's a photo off Google images showing a male and female. Yep, ours was a female.


  1. I love when others take photos of wildlife - it's a great way to learn about your environment.

    Just this month I've taken photos of an alligator outside my lanai (no, I don't live near water, just in Florida, and had to have Florida Wildlife remove it as a nuisance), pair of cardinals, bobwhites (hear them all the time just never see them), a red shouldered hawk on the telephone pole in front of the house and this morning a mother bobcat with 2 young ones. Didn't have my camera when a coyote ran by, darn. By the way, I live in a suburb with a 3 story apt building behind me and a wooded lot across the street and on one side of my lot. It's amazing just how much wildlife is out there.

  2. Here in South Florida, they stick around in the winter. Since there are so many canals and lakes, there are plenty of fish and we see them a lot. They are notoriously shy - so you are lucky to have gotten a shot at all - good work!! I'm so happy to learn they are in Idaho since we are moving to the Boise area next year and there are so many birds here that I will miss - like wild Parrots!!

  3. Actually, your photo shows a female as the bird in the book illustration is a female, and the description states the rusty band is found on the female, not the male. The male would have only the grey band.

  4. exciting! if you stock the pond would it stay?

  5. A Belted Kingfisher flew over me Friday night on the way to check out our dams before moving on. It was fun to see. I see one once about every two or three years now. The first 8 to 10 years when we lived here one would show up hang around our big dam all summer. We would see it sitting on the electric line and fishing for something(mudpuppies?) all summer then disappear in the fall and show up again the next year.

    Had a female or Juvie Oriole at my suet this morning. We get them, but infrequently because we are NOT in a good habitat area for them. Orchard, Baltimore or Bullocks - IDK but it was one! :-) Natokadn

  6. That is sooo cool!!! Thank you for sharing!

  7. throw a dozen goldfish into your stock pond. Even if it is small they will do just fine and reproduce Your bird friend will have a reason to come back.

  8. So lovely! You are obviously 'living right' to be so blessed with beauty!

  9. We have had a mating pair on the pond behind our house for as long as I have lived there (so chances are this is several generations in!). Their calls are loud...and DEFINITELY raucous...but after so many years I find them to be welcoming and always remind me of spring and summer. The male spends a fair amount of his day back and forth between two trees that are on opposing sides of our corner of the pond. Love sitting on the patio and watching them! Great pictures...thanks!