The familiar calls of Mr King was heard this morning coming from the backyard during the morning drizzle. He's back! I thought as I ran from the front of the house to catch a glimpse of Mr King. Then I went upstairs to have a better look at Mr King. As I was spying at him behind curtains, another kingfisher joined him on the wire. It didn't take me long to realise that the second bird was one of the fledglings.
I spyed the two young birds just yesterday at the open field learning to hunt on their own, and had made a mental note to try to make time to photograph them before they are chased away by their parents. I didn't think that my opportunity would be presented to me by papa bringing one over today for a visit. (I grabbed the camera out of the dry box and not wanting to bump the ISO up too high fired off a couple of shots at shutter speeds that were too slow for handheld shots).
The shot above is of the young adult. It still has the tell tale dark beak and feet. In addition, it didn't have the trademark white throat of an adult. The throat area was white with dark markings across it.
The differences become apparent when the two birds are side by side. The young bird is in the front. Papa looks fat because he fluffed up his feathers in the drizzle. I personally feel that the young bird is also slightly larger than its parent.
It is quite rewarding to see both fledglings thriving and honing their hunting skills under the watchful eyes of their parents.
I am truly lucky that these usually secretive birds gave me a chance not once but two years running to be a part of their lives. As you've seen it is hard work for the pair to raise a family. Overall, it takes up to six months to from digging a nest cavity, incubation and raising the chicks. No one knows what is the survival rate of the young birds after they leave their parents but each pair only has two chicks a year.