Closer to Home: Mississippi Kites

Remember a few weeks ago I said the waxwings in our trees were scared off? Well, it’s because these came into town and like to hang out in their tree:

The bird above is actually the male in a pair. The female is in the picture below.

You can tell this is a female because her head is a darker grey, while the male’s is a paler grey. There’s also the fact that we saw these two birds copulating, which helps in figuring out their gender.

We’ve been hearing them over the house for the last several weeks, calling and circling. We actually figured out what they were when riding horses at my parents’ house. A pair of kites built a nest across the street, and since my parents’ neighborhood is very friendly, the neighbors were kind enough to both point it out and tell us what was nesting there.

The cool thing about these kites is that they are great at aerial maneuvers. You can see them adjust their wings into different silhouettes to help them fly at different altitudes or into the trees. The precision reminds me of jets changing their wing angles when they’re flying.

They also eat cicadas! You may not think that’s interesting or nice, but think of how much focus it takes to pluck a single greenish-brown bug from a branch in the middle of a forest. I wish I had that much talent…

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