Kingfishers

A photograph of a 1963 illustration by MIRKO HANAK of Czechoslovakia.

Today I learned that Kingfishers do not nest in trees or on the ground, but rather dig a tunnel in the side of the bank and lay their eggs on what the poet Charles Olson calls “rejectamenta”,..

Here is a snippet from his long poem entitled The Kingfishers:


It nests at the end of a tunnel bored by itself in a bank. There,
six or eight white and translucent eggs are laid, on fishbones
not on bare clay, on bones thrown up in pellets by the birds.
 
                           On these rejectamenta
(as they accumulate they form a cup-shaped structure) the young are born.
And, as they are fed and grow, this nest of excrement and decayed fish becomes
                                  a dripping, fetid mass

Well, the “fetid mass” is not so exciting to contemplate, but the rest of this is quite interesting. How did I not know this before now?

A review of Wikipedia on “Kingfishers” was eye-opening.

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