WOW- Belted Kingfisher

Posted on 22. Dec, 2011 by in World of Wonder, WOW! Blog

When my friend Jay Wilson sent me this picture of a Kingfisher flying at Beaty Street Pond I was reminded of some folklore about the relationship between the Kingfisher and the Winter Solstice. According to Greek mythology after the wedding of Alcyone (also known as Halcyone) and Ceyx, Ceyx had to take a voyage and was drowned at sea during a storm. When his body was washed ashore several months later Alcyone was so grieved that she threw herself into the sea and she also was drowned. The gods were moved by her grief and brought them back to life as kingfishers and they flew away together. The gods also declared that there would be 7 days of calm before and after the shortest day of the year- the Winter Solstice. This time became known as Halcyon Days. Today, beautiful days at sea are known as Halcyon days regardless of the season.

As you can see from this picture a Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle Alcyon) is a large blue bird. It has a crest, a large bill and somewhat superficially resembles a Blue Jay. Belted Kingfishers dive into the water and catch fish in their beaks. They like to hang out on prominent perches to watch the water for potential prey. They can hover over the water before they dive in. Their voice is a destinctive rattle. You’ll find them around any sheltered open water like this pond, Lake Davidson, or Lake Norman.

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