Belted kingfishers make a prominent appearance along local shorelines with their loud, cackling calls and determined flight patterns. They are largely aquatic feeders with skilled diving techniques, using their long straight bills to catch their prey in the water. The birds are short, stocky, and bluish-gray, with a rock-star-quality crest on the head and white underparts. Males have a single blue band on the breast (like the fellow in the photo above); females have two bands –one blue and the other a reddish-brown.
Every year, from late September to early October, I look forward to the southbound Turkey Vulture migration from Vancouver Island to the Olympic Peninsula, when hundreds of birds make the 12-mile flight across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.