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Belted Kingfisher Nesting in Ventura County, California

Sidney B. Peyton
Publication Information
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study

Belted Kingfisher Nesting in Ventura County, California.-Early in April, 1946, my boys informed me that a pair of Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) were digging a hole in a dirt bank along Sespe Creek, Ventura County, California, a short distance from my home. I immediately investigated and found the hole which was in the shade of a large eucalyptus tree; several low hanging branches of the tree were used as perches by the birds. The bank where the hole was found was about two hundred and fifty feet from the stream, and the entrance to the burrow was five feet two inches from the bottom and three feet seven inches from the top and measured four inches across and five inches high. The bottom of the burrow had a decided ridge in the center with a furrow on each side, evidently made by the birds’ feet in going into the nest cavity.

 On May 3, 1946, we decided that there should be a full set of eggs, so we used a trout rod to determine the depth of the hole, which we found to be about seven feet. The hole curved so that we could not see to the end. Digging to one side of the hole, we broke through to the nest cavity. One of the birds flushed from the entrance and on examining the cavity, which held no nesting material, I found seven fresh eggs lying on the bare ground about eight inches from the rear end of the hole. The eggs are distinctly larger than eggs of eastern Belted Kingfishers and measure in inches, 1.510 X 1.135, 1.545 X 1.147, 1.531 X 1.141, 1.421 X 1.132, 1.460 X 1.130, 1.439 X 1.131, 1.431 X 1.149. This is, to my knowledge, the first nesting record for the species in Ventura County.-SIDNEY B. PEYTON, Fillmore, California, December 23, 1946. 

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