What You See When a Kingfisher's About to Eat You

Visual Science
By Rebecca Horne
Jul 21, 2010 12:57 AMNov 20, 2019 2:24 AM


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A female kingfisher plunges into a pond in southwestern England hot on the tail of a tasty little fish. These birds' eyes have special filters thought to reduce glare, giving them a clearer view of underwater prey from above. A third eyelid, called a nictitating membrane, protects their eyes when they strike the water at high speed. Photographer Charlie Hamilton James placed the camera in a waterproof box and set it up in the pond, wired to an infrared trigger that fired when something crossed its path. This image was the result of several weeks of patient monitoring. James: "When shooting wildlife my aim is to show the subjects as they exist in their environment. This is particularly the case with kingfishers, which are more often than not shot close up with wide-angle lenses in order to show them in their river landscape." Charlie Hamilton James/Nature Picture Library

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