Everglades Birding Festival 2015

December 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Events

This popular annual event offers birders the opportunity to explore south Floriday in search of spectacular and rare birds in cypress swamps, everglades prairies, marshes and more. Target birds for the event include prairie warblers, common myna, wood stork, snail kite, crested caracara, burrowing owl, purple galinule and red-whiskered bulbul, to mention a few. For more information visit www.evergladesbirdingfestival.com/

Date: 15-19 January 2015
Location: Everglades, Hollywood

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis)

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Mississippi Kite or as it is scientifically known, the Ictinia mississippiensis, is 12.5 inches long and has a wingspan of 36 inches, weighing between 7 and a half to 12 ounces. Both the male and female are similar in size. It is a medium-sized, long-winged hawk and is known for its graceful movements. The wings of the Mississippi kite are long and pointed and the tail is long and squared-off at the end. The beak is dark in color, short and hooked.

The adult kite has a pale grey head with a dark mask at the lores. The breast, under wing, belly and under tail coverts are also gray. The gray becomes darker on its back, primaries, upper wing coverts and upper tail coverts. Above the kite you can see its pale silvery grey secondaries and when it is flying you can notice its black flight feathers and black tail.

The juvenile Mississippi kite has a streaked, brownish head with a pale superciliary line. The young bird has a dark brown back and upper wing and a dark tail with distinct white bands going across it. The breast, under wing coverts and belly are streaked heavily with a rich brown colour. As the juvenile gets older its head and breast start looking grey like the adult bird with a few remnants of the brown colour. The under wing continues to be streaked heavily with brown and the dark tail and white bands remain.

Another species that is similar to the Mississippi kite is the Black-shouldered kite, which is also medium sized and shape but the breast and tail are whiter and not so grey in color. Kites have a similar body structure to the falcon but the head patterns differ a lot. From a distance the Northern Harrier can look similar and is differentiated only by its pale broad under wings and its white rump.

The Mississippi Kite can be found roosting and making nests in woodlands and in tree clusters. The kite prefers the edge of the woodland, grasslands, human-altered areas, savannas, farms and towns to hunt in. In summer you will find the Mississippi kite mainly in the Southern part of the United States and then in winter you will find it migrating as far south as northern Argentina.

Red Kites Return to North of Ireland

July 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

After an absence of about 200 years, the magnificent Red Kite with its more than five foot wingspan, rusty-red coloring, distinctive forked tail, black wing tips and white patches under each wing, will once again grace the skies of County Down in Northern Ireland. The RSPB recently released twenty-seven Red Kite chicks in the County Down area as part of a pan-UK and Ireland reintroduction program.

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The Plight of the Endangered Snail Kite

July 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The Florida Everglades offer a variety of habitats that are home to an amazing array of birds and wildlife. But, as is increasingly the case all over the world, man is encroaching on the delicate balance of these tropical wetlands with disastrous results. The latest casualty in the Florida Everglades is the Snail Kite which, according to the most recent count, is now considered to be critically endangered in this region.

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