Sunday, August 14, 2011

Go find a KITE!

For the second year in a row, a small community in rural Eastern Ohio has hosted "Kite Day", a special opportunity to view confirmed nesting Mississippi Kites.  Now, if you aren't a birder...

1.  I feel so bad for you.  The wonders you are missing out on...
2.  Come hang out with me.  I'll turn you onto birds....
3.  You might be thinking, "Pfft.  Whatever.  What's so special about some birds making babies in rural Eastern Ohio?"

Here's why it's so special.  As the name implies, this is a bird that is found in the southern U.S. Its breeding range  is roughly from Oklahoma east to South Carolina, into the southern states.  They winter in interior South America.  The birds we saw today are in OHIO.
Okay, so it's a big deal.

When Kite Day was advertised, Kathi got our names on the list (the nest is inside a gated community and they were gracious enough to allow a small number of birders in today).  She was good enough to drive us out to the site and it just added a fun element to what was a stellar day.  When we drive anywhere together, we are blah blah blah for hours.  Helps the time go faster.

Should we just get to the photos?  Yes, let's.

We drove in, parked, and followed the other birders.  And there was the chick, teed up in a tree, pretty as you please.
MIKI chick in tree

LIFE BIRD # 244.  And LIFE RAPTOR# 18 (not including vultures)

The recently fledged chick just sat in the tree, and as one of the adults came into its line of sight, it would start to call....which made my heart melt.
Here's a recording of their call:

MIKI chick1

Here's Kathi, with her "I'm a serious birder, so it's important that I turn my ballcap backwards.  'Cause that's how I roll" pose:

We also got to see Heather of the Hills!!

Heather looking at MIKI

And Jim McCormac (he's behind the scope):
Kathi and Jim

We watched over and over as the adults would bolt into view and hand over a fresh cicada to the calling chick....and then got to watch the chick nom nom nom on the thing:
MIKI chick eating

MIKI chick eating 2

MIKI chick with cicada

The adults were busy, even with just one chick to feed.  Constantly hunting for cicadas and other little critters to bring in.....
Adult MIKI sil

And then I was finally looking at the right moment with my camera raised when an adult came in with food.
Check out the rufous shine in the adult's wing.  They aren't just black and gray birds....A lot of color hidden in there:
Adult MIKI bringing food

I'm a happy girl.  It's been a LONG time since I got a new raptor on my list.  And this was extra special, being able to sit and watch for so long, actually getting to "know" the birds.
Thank you, small gated community in rural Eastern Ohio, for hosting this day for us!!


dugfresh said...

what an incredible experience! wish i could have been there, but since that was impossible, the pictures will do just fine. amazing that you got to witness all of this.

corey said...

What is up with these kites breeding all over? New York, New Hampshire,'s strange.

Nice pics. Seeing a kite eat cicadas makes me glad I am not a kite.

Susan Gets Native said...

Wish you could have been there too. Your lens would have done a much better job capturing all the action.
I felt so honored to be there to see it.
I know, right? Don't they know where they are supposed to be??
Yeah, I'm glad I'm not a kite either. Crunch crunch crunch

Beth said...

Makes me glad I'm not a cicada! Great pictures and I sure wish I had been there to share it with you. Congrats on the lifer!

dguzman said...

WOW. I don't think we've had any sightings in PA -- why not? I want some!