Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bird of the Week Jan. 25: Belted Kingfisher

The belted kingfisher is an aerial marvel. These guys are often seen hovering over water before plunging headfirst in after prey! They feed primarily on fish but will also eat insects, crayfish, frogs, and even berries. While they are year-round residents of Florida, they are typically seen more often at Panther Island during the winter months. Almost every day I am greeted along the canal by one or more of these pretty birds. Actually, this is one of the few bird species in which the female is more brightly colored than the male! When they breed, they actively defend a territory against other kingfishers. Their nests are actually burrows that they build into a sandy or clay streambanks. Both parents excavate using their bills and feet. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 24 days. The young are then completely reliant on their parents for food until they fledge after about 3 weeks. Their rattling call is distinct and often keeps me entertained while i am working in the field near open water areas.

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