Food for thought

The Common Kingfisher with a well earned meal
The Common Kingfisher with a well earned meal

Kingfishers, though they remind us of royalty, don’t exactly live like them. This I observed during a recent visit to Mudumalai.

Having seen many a White Throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) and Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) at work, I had assumed that hunting aquatic prey came easy to them. It took an uncommon Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) to set right my misconception.

In a tank used for irrigation I had come across a Common Kingfisher perched patiently on a stump of wood close to the water. As I observed the bird, it took off. My disappointment lasted only a wingbeat as the bird came back with breakfast in its beak. I have an almost photographic recollection of the fraction of a second when the Common Kingfisher vanished completely into the water and re-emerged. It took that fraction of a second of awe for me to rate the kingfisher as an adept hunter. A fraction of a second is too short a moment to judge, I was to realize in another fraction of a second, as I saw the Kingfisher dive into the water three more times and return empty-beaked.

Coincidentally, the night before on Animal Planet I watched a documentary, which evinced that a Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) manages a successful hunt only on four out of ten chases while the African Lion (Panthera Leo) has an even lower hit rate of  three in ten.

I remember a line from a chapter in my high school English textbook, which went something like: “Only the one whose throat is parched by the desert heat knows the value of water.”

As I munched my easily earned lunch, I chewed on that. Food for thought: “Does a meal earned after much struggle taste better than the delectable fare from Gusto’s Kitchen?”




  • Andy

    Andy grew up watching nature documentaries. He indulges in reading and travelling to feed his interest in nature, history and culture. He is easily thrilled by trivia, anecdotes and conversations. Writing lets him bring his passions together. In his day job, Andy defines cloud solutions and, in his spare time, he builds castles in the air about his next trip to an exotic destination, settling in the end for something unobtrusive and amenable to his budget.

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3 thoughts on “Food for thought

  1. Yep, anything which is earned after some bit of toil does taste better. Don’t they say the sweet ‘taste’ of success follows after much hardwork. Nice site and posts. I’m hooked and can’t stop reading.

    1. Thanks again, Aashica! “Hooked” and “can’t stop reading” are music to our ears! We have six years of archives so we hope you spend your time well. Do share what you enjoy reading.
      – Editor

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