Thursday 24th September 2020

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Kingfisher Activities for Children

Kingfishers stay at Rye Meads all year round, although the best time to see a kingfisher is when they are breeding (usually between March and September). Volunteers at Rye Meads designed and built the special nesting bank for kingfishers, and it has been a great success!

The best time to see kingfishers is when they are feeding young. Once the eggs have been laid both the kingfishers will take turns incubating. One adult will incubate and the other will be around the site finding its own dinner. When they are incubating we don't get good views - they will take turns at incubating, and will 'change over' once every 2-3 hours. They will incubate the eggs for 19-21 days, once they hatch the young keep both adults busy finding fish. Each chick can eat 12-18 fish a day, and they are fed in rotation once a chick is fed, it moves to the back of the nest to digest its meal, causing the others to move forward.

The chicks are normally ready to leave the nest when they are 24-25 days old, but if the fish supply is poor, they can take up to 37 days. We tend not to see the young fledge - they tend to do it first thing in the morning before any one is at the reserve. Once out of the nest, we don't really see the young - they hide away so no predators can find them. The young are fed for a couple of days before the adults will drive them out of their territory.

The Rye Meads kingfishers can have three broods, spanning from March (the usually lay their first brood of eggs in April) all the way to the beginning of September. The Rye Meads website is updated regularly when the kingfishers are breeding so do keep checking on there!