Their feet are syndactyl, meaning the 3rd and 4th toes are partially fused together.
Kingfishers are birds inherent to water. Even their nests are built within sand banks. These nest burrows are dug with their bills, the sand is then kicked aside with their feet (hence their syndactyl feet adaptation which creates a shovel-like action). Nest burrows can be up to 6 feet or more in length. The entrance hole is less than 5 inches; where the eggs are laid, the chamber doubles in size. A half dozen shiny, white eggs are laid and are incubated by both parents for around 23 days.The young are also fed by both parents a menu of regurgitated fish, insects, and crayfish. The white eye spots may also help the young identify the adults, in order to beg for food in the dark surroundings of the nest burrow.
Kingfishers will start migrating in September and October up north. The males will winter as far north as water remains unfrozen, the females will winter farther south.
As an animal totem, (an animal that we might feel close to at any time), the Kingfisher signifies prosperity, love, abundance, and sunshine.
Conclusion: Our visiting Kingfisher was a fledgling that needed a little extra protection and care before starting his own life journey. "Goodbye little Kingfisher, have a good life."
*Thanks to the folks at Wilderness Resort, Ely for their compassion and attention to wildlife!*
thanks to the following folks for helping us help wildlife:
For T. Davis who sent us a gift in memory of her sister, Peggy J. Menard: "A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves -- a special kind of double."
"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden."
For Peggy J. Menard:
"If I were to choose the sights, the sounds, the fragrances I most would want to see and hear and smell -- among all the delights of the open world -- on a final day on earth, I think I would choose these: the clear, ethereal song of a white-throated sparrow singing at dawn; the smell of pine trees in the heat of the noon; the lonely calling of Canada geese; the sight of a dragon-fly glinting in the sunshine; the voice of a hermit thrush far in a darkening woods at evening; and -- most spiritual and moving of sights -- the white cathedral of a cumulus cloud floating serenely in the blue of the sky." Edwin Way Teale, On a Final Day
Catherine K., Randy C., Elizabeth N., and Su N.