Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mississippi Kites Flying Over Ohio: Buckeye State Has Southern Charmers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A pair of beautiful falcon-like birds with deep red eyes have settled in Ohio this summer to raise a family. Mississippi kites are native to Dixie and seldom -- if ever -- have been discovered nesting in Ohio. And for now, nobody is certain if their arrival is related to climate change, which could offer an extended range into the north, or just a fling in a state filled with lots of dragon flies and cicadas on the menu.

Mississippi kites are migratory and winter in South America. Normally they nest in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, southern Missouri and the states that made up the heart of the old Confederacy. In other words, they are not Yankees. Jim McCormac, who writes about birds and biodiversity went out to see the kites in Hocking Count, where they have been spotted flitting around the Brass Ring Golf Course. He calls them "avian celebrities" and his friend, Aaron Boone, shot some fantastic photos that can be seen on McCormac's blog. He reported:

"This is the first nesting record for Mississippi kite in Ohio and as far as I know, the northernmost nesting record anywhere to date. Let's hope they return next year. We'll go back in December after the leaves have fallen and see if we can't find the nest. We have a strong idea as to the locale, but dense leaf cover has kept it hidden from us so far."

More on Mississippi kites at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The birds are insect eaters and love dragonflies and cicadas. But they will also feast on small amphibians, snakes, lizards and occasionally another bird. They live around woods, rangelands and savannahs, but sometimes settle in cities.

No comments:

Post a Comment