With the nest burrow and territory now established the pair are well into the breeding phase. The female is now staying in close proximity to the burrow most of the time, while the male is returning to the female at 10 to 15 minute minute intervals, bringing fish to feed to her. This behavior seems well adapted to ensuring that all of the females energy can go into egg production. While the female makes occasional visits to the burrow, sometimes spending several minutes in the burrow, the bulk of her time is spent roosting in bank side trees waiting for the male. When the male returns to the burrow he can be heard calling from some way off, this prompts the female to call and the male then quickly homes in on the female and presents her with a fish. On two occasions during the 3 hour session that I observed them, this behaviour was followed by an attempted mating, where the male hovers and perches on top of the female.
On February 18th I spent some time observing the area of river bank that I’ve followed nesting Kingfishers at over the last few years. After just afew minutes, once I’d settled into some cover a male Kingfisher turned up and started inspecting the bank. he flew into each of last years abandoned nest holes several times and used the same log perch that appears to be firmly stuck in the river bed about a metre out from the bank.
Today, March 3rd I’ve revisited the river and I’m happy to report that there is now a pair present and a new nest hole has been excavated in the bank. It’s early days, but the signs are good.
After last year, when 2 nest burrows failed due to predation and the disappearance of the female midway through the second brood, I’m looking forward to the next few months with a bit of trepidation. I get quite attached to these colourful little birds and when you see the amount of work they put into raising a brood of chicks you can’t help but be affected when something terrible happens to them. Anyway enough doom and gloom. Today I’m just pleased to see them again.