There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Belted Kingfisher

Ceryle alcyon

Large, crested head
Long, thick, black bill
Blue-gray head and back
White belly with blue breast band
Small white spot by each eye
White collar
Female (not photographed):
Rufous flanks
Rufous belly band

Listen to its call.

Driving along Dooley Road in Central Saanich, I spied this bird perched in a tree along the road. Unfortunately, as I got out of my car and approached it, it flew into a neighbouring yard. There was a large fence around the property and I leaned on the top of it to photograph the bird. After taking numerous shots, I readjusted my position to get a different angle. It was then that I noticed the sign "Caution. Electric fence". I was shockingly surprised. Actually, I wasn't, thankfully, but it was rather funny. I was so focused on getting my picture that I didn't feel a thing. 

Looking at this bird, it struck me that the crest looks a bit like a crown and I wondered if that was where it got its name. However, I didn't find any evidence of that. In fact, I couldn't find much about the etymology of the name at all. Even the Online Etymology Dictionary wasn't much help, stating that the name was first used in the "mid-15c and was originally king's fisher, for obscure reasons". Personally, I think my explanation is much better.

Learn more about the Belted Kingfisher.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely bird! I'd love to get a glimpse of one of these.

    electric fence
    the shocking blue
    of the kingfisher