Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Belted Kingfisher

I started listing birds for the first time this year.  I was curious about how many species I'd see in a year, but also about which species I'd see at certain times of the year.  I'm guessing I'll see cardinals and chickadees every month, but what about robins and juncos?  I keep both month lists and a year list so I can learn when certain birds migrate to, from and through central Illinois.  It's fun and I find it interesting.

One of my favorite birds is the belted kingfisher.  I love its goofy, awkward shape and its ridiculous call.  Kingfishers are fairly common around just about any body of water.  I mean, they're not common like starlings or robins that you see everywhere you look, but I probably saw at least 30 last year.  I've even seen them hunting the completely fish-free "river" at the zoo.  Anyway, I have been very surprised that despite the fact I have been birding areas I've seen plenty of kingfishers in the past and other areas that are perfect kingfisher habitat, I have completely struck out on finding one this year.  Until yesterday...

Part of my job is to take the keeper trash to the dumpsters on the other side of the park before I make my final animal waste dump run.  Yesterday there were some school buses on the main park road I wanted to avoid so I cut around on a trail past the lagoon.  There, sitting on a post, was my first of year kingfisher!  I just squeaked it in to the month of April.  Funny, because my last three birding trips have been all about finding a kingfisher in perfect, wild settings and I end up finding one in the park in town.  I'm sure I'll now see them everywhere! 

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