Saturday, October 27, 2012

Here's Something You May Not Have Known

Many predatory species of birds regurgitate pellets consisting of bones, hair, feathers and other indigestible parts of things they eat.  Among the birds that do this are hawks, shore birds, owls, cormorants and kingfishers to name a few.  You can discover an owl's habitual roost by looking for pellets under trees, if you know what you are looking for. 

I was standing on the dock and my eye happened to catch this pellet sitting on top of one of the pilings.  It was resting on a piling that had an protective aluminum cap on it and that was a small clue to what birds didn't leave the pellet (since I know which birds won't sit on the metal caps).  It was originally sitting on the discolored spot seen just in front of it.  I took this picture after I put it back down.  Based on the size of it and the fact that it was on this metal cap, I am guessing that it was left by a kingfisher. If you look closely, you can see small scales from a fish throughout the pellet.

Almost as if to confirm it, a kingfisher flew into the area just as I was leaving.  I was able to get a few photos before it flew off.  It didn't go too far, however, and by the time I got to my car, it had returned to sit over the water on a prominent branch scouting for fish.  That allowed me the opportunity to take a couple more photos that were a little better than the first.  Then it flew off again in the direction of the dock and when I peaked through some bushes, I could see it sitting on one of the pilings.  I'm pretty sure the pellet is from a kingfisher and, just as likely, from this exact bird.

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