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Mum, why aren’t the birds scared?

February 28, 2013
Sacred Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher

I distinctly remember asking my mother this question when I was young while we were feeding the ibis at Healesville sanctuary. The sign said ‘Sacred Ibis’ (I know, dyslexic at such a young age – that’s why I date an editor). But they didn’t look scared to me. In fact I remember having to protect my lunch from them all afternoon.

Cuz Kookaburra

Cousin kookaburra

I was reminded of this when walking to my assigned platypus-watching position in Coonans Reserve at the recent King Parrot Creek Environment Group outing. Not too far from me, searching the ground for dinner, were two peacock-green, none-too-scared Sacred Kingfishers (Todiramphus sanctus). In the same family as the Laughing Kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), these kingfishers inhabit creek margins, feeding on aquatic life from the creek as well as insects and small reptiles. The male, female and juveniles look very similar. The bird on the left (pictured above) was feeding the other at the time.

Wakey, wakey

Wakey, wakey

Searching using thermal imaging we later found (and woke) a kingfisher (pictured left) sleeping on a low-hanging branch. It didn’t seem too scared either.

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