In 50 years of careful looking I’ve found two Belted Kingfisher nests. That is testimony to the general difficulty of locating one or to my specific problem.
Whatever. I found one Saturday, three minutes from my garage door. I was at the golf course where I have nest boxes. Four times a kingfisher flew over me, chattering or rattling loudly, as they do, and always in the same directions, out and back. No nearby fishing water in one direction, so I hiked in to investigate. I watched the bird fly to and enter a burrow ona steep side of a large pile of dirt. Kingfishers dig burrows, tunnels up to three feet long leading to a nesting chamber. The dirt pile is one of several in a truck maintenance yard. I asked an employee for and received permission to take photos. I kept farther away from the nest than the best photography dictated, but disturbing nesting birds never is a good idea. (I do have and used a telephoto lens.) The bird I photographed is a male. I did not see a female. This could indicate that the female is incubating eggs. The trips out lasted from 20 minutes to two hours. Time spent at the nest each trip was about 15 minutes.
I had a good time. Extra added attraction was the pair of Rough-winged Swallows that tentatively were examining the kingfisher nest hole. The swallows use similar nesting places. ) The swallows never went into the tunnel. They would have started a brief fight they could not win.
I’ll visit with yard managers today to ensure that they understand that it is against federal law to disturb a nest while it is active.
Kingfishers often choose gravel or sand pits, or steep shoreline edges for their nests. They want a near-vertical face in soft soil. The birds are blue and white and very large heads and heavy bills. Males have one blue band on their breast, females one blue and one red.