【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape

In this series, the transformation of four seasons will be introduced through articles on wild animals that are active in the deep forests, marshes, and ocean as if they were being cradled by “Kamui,” which means deity in the Ainu language. The first installment in the series is the Yezo sika deer of Notsuke Peninsula. (Text and photographs by Tadanobu Shigeru from the Kushiro Branch News Secti

June 1

Special feature

【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape (31) The courting season of the Kingfisher – “the gem of the clear streams”

A kingfisher appears at the pondside, where the buds are beginning to swell

At a pond on hilly land in Minami-ku, Sapporo, where snow remains even in April, the water begins to warm up in the spring sunshine. As high-pitched birdsong echoes around the slopes, a kingfisher flies in.

 The kingfisher stares at the surface of the pond from pondside branches where cherry blossoms and kobus magnolia buds begin to swell. The next moment, the bird plunges into the water at lightning speed and catches a small fish. It returns to the tree and strikes the fish on the branch several times before swallowing it whole.

 In spring, kingfishers arrive in eastern and other regions of Hokkaido. Apart from a section between the two wings, the backs of the birds are bright blue, and they are known as “the gem of the clear streams”. May is the breeding season, and the males present the females with fish they have caught. This is known as courtship feeding, and the fish are passed from the male’s beak to that of the female.

As the trees become greener in Hokkaido, the young birds that have left the nests can be seen. The season that is full of life has arrived.
(words and photo by Shigeru Tadanobu)

Location

Minami-ku, Sapporo

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