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Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

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Tony Angell Reflects on Nature

Tony Angell, gazing on Puget Sound, writes: "From the beach below, that evocative perfume of the sea, decaying kelp, is wafted up on the breeze... Near the shore, disputing kingfishers rattle in their mercenary manner, chasing one another... Behind me, in the woods, a Cooper's hawk chants and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Burrowing Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher dashes through the air, warning intruders with its rapid-fire, rattling call. In spring, the best places to see Belted Kingfishers are along sandy banks -- they are busy digging burrows, where they will nest. The holes typically reach three to six feet into the bank, but... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Three Kingfishers

The Belted Kingfisher is the one species of kingfisher found throughout most of North America north of Mexico. You'll have to go to Texas to see two other kingfishers. The quiet call of the Green Kingfisher - like this one - can be heard at wooded streams and ponds. A Ringed Kingfisher perches up... read more »

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Biomimicry - Japanese Trains Mimic Kingfisher

High-speed passenger trains in Japan were once a real headache, because their engineering caused a "tunnel boom," a huge boom created by air being pushed out of the tunnel ahead of a train. But the chief engineer for the West Japan Railway Company was a birder, and he’d seen Eurasian... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Bird Sound Types and Qualities Part I

Since it’s often hard to see a bird, veteran birders characterize the sounds of birds in order to identify them. So what words do they use? Well, they use “whistle,” for example, to describe the sound of this Olive-sided Flycatcher. And "rattle" for that of the Belted Kingfisher. There's the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Where Are All the Queen Birds?

In the world of birds, you’ll find King Penguins, King Vultures, King Eiders, 89 species of kingfishers, 11 species of kingbirds, and three species tiny kinglets. But of the 10,000 species of birds around the globe, there are no “queens.”* Once upon a time, there was a species of bird-of-paradise... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, ornithology
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