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Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher

June 22, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


DATE: Wednesday, June 22
TIME: 7:00-8:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Montana Natural History Center

Free with admission; registration is not required.

Please join Marina Richie for the official launch of her book, Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher, published by Oregon State University Press with illustrations by Ram Papish. The heart of the story takes place on Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula in the homeland of the Salish people.

“I can think of no better place than the Montana Natural History Center to bring this book into the world to honor the kingfisher and this beloved nonprofit that connects people of all ages to nature every day,” said Richie.

Whether hovering or diving from a branch, a belted kingfisher’s headfirst plunge to snap fish near the surface is swift and precise. The jay-sized birds flourish where water is clean, and in places with plentiful fish, perches, and coveted earthen nest banks.

 The first book to feature North America’s beloved bird of waterways, Halcyon Journey threads natural history, memoir, and myth. The kingfisher—also known as the halcyon bird—is linked to the mythic origin of halcyon days, a state of happiness that Marina hopes to find in her pursuit of Belted Kingfishers on a home stream.

Epiphanies and a citizen science finding with local naturalists Lisa and Paul Hendricks punctuate seven seasons tracking elusive nesting birds. Seeking to find out why the female Belted Kingfisher is more colorful than the male, Marina widens her explorations—from the back halls of the Smithsonian to the Lower Rio Grande and South Africa. To know the bird of the Greek myth, she travels to London and finds the Common Kingfisher in a dreamy setting.

Her far-flung adventures to meet kingfisher kin serve to deepen her relationship with the wild community of Rattlesnake Creek. In winter, she explores tribal stories of the kingfisher as messenger and helper. By the water’s edge, Marina reconciles the loss of her naturalist father and taps into her own powers, inspired by the bird of the headfirst plunge and rattling call.

Marina will sell and sign her book after the presentation.  

Marina Richie is a nature writer, journalist, and environmentalist living in Bend, Oregon. She is the author of two children’s books under a prior name: Bird Feats of Montana and Bug Feats of Montana. Marina has written for Birdwatching magazine, National Wildlife, Audubon, A.T. Journeys, Montana Naturalist, University of Montana’s Vision and Research View magazines, as well as literary journals, and for MNHC’s radio program, Field Notes. Marina has a master’s in journalism from the University of Montana and an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Oregon. Please visit her website to read her bi-monthly nature blogs: www.marinarichie.com.

COVID Precautions:

  • we will follow current CDC guidelines and Missoula numbers, possibly requiring a mask indoors


June 22, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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