What’s all that chattering* about? It is most likely the Belted Kingfisher with its beautiful crest diving and darting along the creek.
The Belted Kingfisher is known to have existed 2 million years ago, it is a native to Maryland, not an import from India! One of the few native birds where the female is more brightly colored than the male.
These birds, like many, depend on the frogs, aquatic insects and fish in our creeks to survive and make their homes by burrowing 3ft - 8ft into our creek and river banks to raise about 6 chicks a year. Like owls, they regurgitate pellets of undigested bones. This is one species that actually benefits from the deeply eroded creek banks for its nesting, and builds its burrows slanted upward to escape rising flood waters.
While the habitat provided by Cabin John Creek Stream Valley Park is extremely important, the proximity of so many homes does present some threats to our birdlife. You can help by making sure your homes are “bird friendly” including by making your windows more “visible” to birds and keeping cats indoors. Check out the Montgomery Bird Club for more information on birds of the area.
*Pamela C. Rasmussen/Avian Vocalizations Center
Made possible through the Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant program
funded through the Montgomery County Water Quality Protection Fund