What has the Belted Kingfisher been up to since Halloween Hikes last year?
Why hello everyone! Did you miss me? I was just fishing over at the pond at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and it made me remember how much fun I had last year seeing you all at the Halloween Hikes!
Can you believe it’s been a full year since we got to hike together and you got the privilege of meeting moi – the most beautiful bird on this side of the Chattahoochee?
Well I’ve had quite a busy year myself. After we finished having fun together last October, I had a quiet winter. Most days, all I did was fish. I would get up in the morning and perch on the edge of the Chattahoochee River. When I saw a fish that looked particularly tasty, I would take flight, close my eyes (I hate getting water in my eyes) and grab the fish in my long pointy bill. Then I would take it back to where I was sitting, pound it against the perch, and eat it head first. This was how I spent almost every day this winter – swoop, catch, and pound. To be honest, it started to get a little lonely and a little bit of a headache from the pounding. Just little old me, all by myself out there hunting the same spots day in and day out.
One day, I was hunting around my usual dinner spot when I spotted a really scrumptious fish. I swoop down, close my eyes, snap my beak shut …. and next thing I know, I have the head of the fish in my mouth, and another kingfisher – a male kingfisher – has the tail in his mouth. I looked into his dark eyes and blue feathers, and it was love at first sight. But of course, I played coy at first (and ate the whole fish myself). I let him court me by bringing me fish, until finally he asked if I would build a burrow nest with him. Of course I said yes!
We spent the whole rest of the spring together and next thing you know, we had eggs. It all went so fast!
After a whirlwind of incubation, where of course my prince charming helped me sit on the eggs, we had baby kingfishers. I spent the next two months making sure they got enough fish to eat, but they really mean it when they say they grow up fast. By August, I was already an empty-nester.
And that brings us up to now! I absolutely can’t wait to see you guys again. Seeing you every fall is my favorite part of the year. You are always so much fun to hike with and your costumes always make me so proud to call you my friends. Plus, I love getting the chance to see all my other furry, feathered, and scaled forest friends who don’t get to come out to the river and play as much as I would like.
Will you come see me this year? I have lots more stories to tell you, and I’m hoping you have a few to tell me as well!
See you on the trails!
October 23, 24, and 30 | 6-10PM