Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I have always had trouble getting any kind of a legible picture of a Mississippi Kite. Usually they appear dark and with no definition. But luckily all that changed for me on this trip.
The first thing I heard was the shrill whistles from these birds as they were swooping over the trees. No mistaking their sound! Grabbing my camera I began looking up and following the calls. Spotted two males and a female (shown above). The males were very vocal as they competed and tussled to see who would win the favors of the smaller female. Finally the dominate male turned his attention to his soon to be mate who had been sitting in the top of a dead tree. He would bring her a small rodent and even once a small snake. After this ritual and several minutes later they would mate, assuring the propagation of their species. Always in this same tree, every day, for at least two weeks or so!
When the mating ritual was completed she would circle around, flying at treetop level and enter her nest from the backside so as not to attract any attention to it I presume. As 'Luck' would have it, the nest was located high in a Post Oak tree in my camping site!
Finally the mating stopped and she began sitting her eggs. Very rarely leaving the nest. Once I noticed her regurgitating from the mating tree, it was a ball of fur and bones from a rodent, probably a mouse.
Picture above is of the female before entering her nest. She was always cautious but did seem to get a sense of trust for me.
I wish I could have been around to see the clutch hatched and the little ones developing their feathers, and finally learning to fly. Who knows maybe a short trip later on will let me see the 'New Generation' of Mississippi Kites!