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Chicago's Best Fisherman Might Be The Belted Kingfisher

By Justin Breen | April 4, 2017 5:26am | Updated on April 7, 2017 10:12am

CHICAGO — Chicago's best fisherman might be feathered.

The belted kingfisher, a master catcher of fish that plunges headfirst into the water to catch its prey, is making its way through Chicago this month. It migrates along the lakefront during its travels north during April and many times will stop in Chicago — especially along the Chicago River or lagoons in Humboldt Park, Douglas Park and other city greenspaces — to catch fish. Some will nest here, too.

If you're lucky, you might be able to spot one near a city waterway. A belted kingfisher was photographed near the Lincoln Park Zoo over the weekend.

The blue birds dine on fish usually between 4-5 inches and also consumes tadpoles, crayfish and frogs. They can dive at speeds up to 70 miles per hour.

During courtship, male kingfishers do all the fishing, catching the prey and bringing it to a female. The birds then tunnel a nest into a dirt bank. The nest goes about 3-6 feet into the ground, according to the Audubon Society. One female kingfisher can lay between 5-8 eggs a year.