Date: 7/16/17 4:50 am From: Pat Lueders <000000224f38bbb7-dmarc-request...> Subject: Re: Mississippi Kites in west Columbia: Nesting behavior? Nest helpers?
When I found, and we monitored, a Mississippi Kite nest a few years ago, we witnessed similar behavior. An adult would perch across from the nest with food, then drop into the nearby nest followed by another adult. The second kite would stand by the nest but not participate. It would watch the first bird feed the juvenile as if learning how to do it. Before the juvenile fledged, we saw three adults in the nest area. After it fledged, the three would soar with the juvenile whistling, feeding and protecting it from the neighboring Red-shouldered Hawks.
Pat Lueders, Webster Groves, MO
Sent from my iPad
> On Jul 15, 2017, at 12:39 PM, John Besser <jbesser1...> wrote:
> This morning I observed several Mississippi Kites over Bray Avenue in West Columbia -- Just south of the Columbia Audubon nature sanctuary. Two of the birds were in full adult plumage and were visible for the entire 15 minutes. I also saw one or possibly two additional birds, which did not linger long with the resident pair. At one point one of the birds flew rapidly away to the south, and moments later another bird joined the adult pair from the north or east. This could have been a fourth bird, but I can't be sure.
> This last bird I saw did not have full adult plumage, and had visible 'notches' in its flight feather feathers indicating that is in the middle of a molt. This is consistent with a bird hatched in 2016 that is now entering it's adult plumage.
> It seems very likely that this pair is nesting in this neighborhood. I saw a pair of adult birds in this vicinity harassing a Red-tailed Hawk a couple weeks ago. No other hawks were present today, but one of the adult birds did show some aggressive behavior that seems consistent with nest defense. Twice in succession, this bird swooped sharply from the sky to attack a sculpture of a bald eagle in the front yard of a nearby house! It then perched in the bare branches of a silver maple tree in the neighboring yard, but I could not see a nest in this tree.
> Although kites nesting in Columbia is no longer big news, I it seems to me that the presence of one or more subadult birds indicates that this pair had nesting success last year, and suggests that the previous years' offspring may be helping with this year's nest.
> Any comments?
> John Besser
> Columbia MO
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