Date: 2/27/18 9:15 am
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Subject: [obol] White-tailed Kites in mid-Willamette Valley 2000-2007 [LONG]
Hi all,

This is very long but hopefully some folks will appreciate a historical
perspective on White-tailed Kites in Benton County and nearby areas.

What follows is a compilation of entries for White-tailed Kite
(abbreviated here as WTKI) in the Audubon Society of Corvallis "Chat"
field notes, during my first stint as compiler (mid-2000 through
mid-2007). I've edited these slightly for clarity and brevity.

The numbers preceding each entry give the Chat volume (corresponding to
the year) and issue number.

Entries of note include the ones for 2000-07 & 08 (Kings Valley breeding
record), 2001-08 (notably high counts), 2001-09 (possibly the start of
what later became the ECAS winter raptor survey?), and 2004-09, as well
as the

Long-time birders might enjoy seeing some names of birders whom we
haven't heard from in a while.

Happy reading,

2000-07: WTKIs have been seen along Kings Valley Hwy. near Maxfield
Creek Rd. Jim Fairchild saw 1 adult on 8-16, 1 or 2 on 8-23, and 2 on
8-25. This is just south of Maple Grove Rd., where a pair that summered
in 1998 was suspected of nesting. Jim notes that the changing landscape
of that area might be favorable to the increased presence of kites.

2000-08: WTKIs were still present in Kings Valley on 6 Sep, when Jim
Fairchild saw two adults being followed around by two apparent juveniles
which made pitiful croaking calls.

2000-09: A WTKI was at E.E. Wilson WA 5-6 Nov (Dave Budeau).

2000-10: WTKI sightings included one along Airlie Rd. in southern Polk
County on 3 Dec (P. Vanderheul), and an adult near the northeast
entrance of Finley NWR on 24 Dec (Erik Knight).

2001-01: WTKIs were a frequent sight at Finley NWR: an imm. on 6 Jan
(Marcia F. Cutler), one along Finley Rd on 8 Jan (Hendrik Herlyn) and
one during the Eugene field trip on 20 Jan. One along Airlie Rd. in Polk
Co. was a highlight of the ASC field trip on 1 Jan. Another was in the
SW corner of E.E. Wilson WA on 2 Jan (Alan McGie). On 15 Jan Jamie &
Sarah Simmons watched two kites mob a Red-tailed Hawk near the Hwy 20
weigh station west of Wren, after the hawk stooped at one of the kites.

2001-02: Tanya Bray watched a courtship flight of two WTKIs along Finley
Rd in Finley NWR on 6 Feb, and Paula Vanderheul saw three there on 19

2001-03: WTKIs continued to be seen near the weigh station east of
Blodgett (25 Feb, Steve Dowlan; 8 Mar, H Herlyn) and near the north
entrance to Finley NWR , where on 17 Mar two were perched near a tree
that contained a large nest (Carolyn Paynter). Don Hall saw one at E.E.
Wilson WA on 25 Mar.

2001-05: Gary Weisberger reported a WTKI near Circle Blvd. and Hwy 20 in
Corvallis on 30 Apr.

2001-06: Two WTKIs were hunting near the Kings Valley Cemetery on 7 Jul
(Margaret Stephens) and again on 20 Jul (Jeff Fleischer). A Portland
Audubon Society field trip to Finley NWR on 17 Jul saw a juvenile or
first year kite (Norine Dietrich).

2001-07: On 1 Sep Tanya Bray found two WTKIs at Finley NWR, one at
Cabell Marsh and one along the new Muddy Creek trail. Four kites were
found along Hoskins Rd., Kings Valley on 15 Sep (M Cutler).

2001-08: Remarkable numbers of WTKIs have been seen at Cabell Marsh,
gathering at a favored spot at around 11 AM each day. Reports included
15 on 1 Oct (Steve Seibel), 11 on 6 Oct (Don Boucher); and high counts
of 26 to 28 on 8 Oct (S Seibel, P Vanderheul). Kites were still present
on 15 Oct (S Seibel).

2001-09: Winter brings remarkable numbers of raptors into the Willamette
Valley. On 25 Nov Jeff Fleischer was curious how many he could find. In
four hours driving around Linn County, he tallied 8 Northern Harriers,
63 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Rough-legged Hawks, 25 American Kestrels, and 1
Peregrine Falcon, to make a total of 99 raptors!
Even that tally missed a few species such as WTKIs. Don Boucher saw two
east of Blodgett on 3 Nov, Steve Seibel saw seven from the prairie
overlook at Finley NWR on 9 Nov, and Richard Hoyer Sr. saw another near
Airlie on 14 Nov

2001-10: Four WTKIs were at the prairie overlook near the north entrance
of Finley NWR on 7 Dec (Bruce Newhouse). Marcia Cutler noted several
kites at the same location on 1 Dec, and the ASC field trip saw a kite
along Greenberry Rd. on 8 Dec.

2002-01: Hendrik Herlyn saw a WTKI at the north entrance of Finley NWR
on 8 Jan. Another kite has been regular in the north end of E.E. Wilson
WA since early January (Dave Budeau).

2002-02: Steve Vincent reported 7 to 8 WTKIs near Inavale School, 2-3
Feb (fide Elsie Eltzroth). Through 4 Feb two kites were being seen at
opposite ends of E.E. Wilson WA (Dave Budeau). Single kites were seen
near Airlie Rd. and Sauerkraut Rd. in s. Polk County on 7 Feb (R Hoyer),
and along Tennessee Rd. n. of Lebanon on 24 Feb (Jeff Harding).

2002-03: On 12 Mar Tom Snetsinger saw two WTKIs over fields near the
Kings Valley cemetery, where kites were seen in the past two breeding

2002-05: A WTKI was near Alsea on 8 May (Wayne Hoffman) and one was at
the Philomath sewage ponds on 9 May (Rich Hoyer).

2002-07: A WTKI was at the NE entrance of Finley on 8 Sep (Erik Knight).
On 21 Sep two kites were seen near the Kings Valley school (Benton MC),
and three more were near Airlie in Polk Co. (D Albright).

2002-08: A WTKI was at Mary's River Natural Area Park, Corvallis on 16
Oct (Thom Whittier), and one was along Brooklane Dr 19 Oct (W Wright).
Kites at Finley NWR included one near the prairie overlook 27 Sep (K
Sparkman), and one harassing a Red-tailed Hawk at Mill Hill pond 22 Oct
(D Boucher, J Husen).

2002-10: A WTKI was near the prairie overlook at Finley NWR on 5 Dec (S
Seibel), and one was at Snag Boat Bend for a rare Linn Co. sighting on
17 Dec (Jennifer Weikel).

2003-01: A WTKI was at Finley NWR 3 Jan (Joe Fontaine). On 18 Jan Don
MacDonald saw one three miles south of Alsea.

2003-02: Two WTKIs were at Bellfountain & Llewellyn Rd on 20 Jan
(Richard F. Hoyer).

2003-07: An immature WTKI was near the prairie overlook at Finely NWR 12
Jul (Paula Vanderheul).

2003-08: Sean Burgett saw a WTKI a few miles n. of Pedee 7 Sep. Another
kite and a Northern Harrier were at the Brooklane open-space area 14 Sep
(Don Boucher).

2003-09: A WTKI was at the Finley NWR prairie overlook 7 Oct (Steve

2004-01: One to two WTKIs continue to be seen at the prairie overlook,
Finley NWR (H Herlyn; S Seibel; J Simmons; S Johnson). Another was in
the north part of E.E. Wilson 7 Jan (H Herlyn).

2004-02: Two to three WTKIs were seen around Finley NWR throughout the
month, most often at the prairie overlook at the north entrance. Jeff
Fleischer also spotted a pair along Airlie Rd. about a mile w. of Hwy
99W on 12 Feb.

2004-03: Three WTKIs continued at Finley NWR 10 Mar (S Seibel, J

2004-04: Randy and Pam Comeleo saw two WTKIs at Finley NWR 4 Apr (fide M

2004-05: A WTKI showed up in Oak Creek neighborhood west of Corvallis 7
& 8 May (Bob and Elke Doss fide Bill Proebsting).

2004-06: A WTKI was flying over an open mixed woodland/grassland area 3
miles west of Alsea 9 Aug (Nicole Michel). Four adults were at the
Finley prairie overlook 18 Aug (Noah Strycker).

2004-07: A WTKI was at Finley 31 Aug (J Simmons) and 18 Sep (Benton
County NAMC fide M Cutler), at the prairie overlook as usual.

2004-08: On 13 Oct Carol Karlen saw six WTKIs around the Kings Valley
cemetery, four of them chasing a pair of Red-tailed Hawks.

2004-09: Steve Seibel has been seeing WTKIs regularly at the prairie
overlook at Finley, with a peak count of 11 there on 4 Nov. Steve
noticed that the kites take wing and fly west about 45 minutes before
sunset every evening. On 27 Nov he found five kites roosting in treetops
along a ridge 3 miles due west of the prairie overlook. Rana Foster saw
a pair kiting along the Alsea River near Clements Park 21 Nov.

2004-10: Steve Seibel saw five WTKIs at the prairie overlook at Finley
25 Nov, and noted at least one was present most times he checked this
location through late Dec. An adult kite was between Peoria and Halsey
28 Nov (Roy Gerig), and one was along Gap Rd. south of Brownsville 14
Dec (Jeff Fleischer), both locations in Linn Co. where kites are rare.
Six were at Kings Valley 29 Nov (Carol Karlen).

2005-01: WTKIs were seen less frequently at the Lincoln Prairie overlook
at Finley, but two were there 11 & 27 Jan (S Seibel).

2005-02: Two WTKIs were seen regularly at the Finley NWR prairie
overlook through 14 Feb (S Seibel; Carolyn Paynter). Three were near the
Kings Valley cemetery 8 Feb (Jeff Fleischer).

2005-04: A WTKI at the Finley prairie overlook 23 Mar (S Seibel) seems
to have been the last one seen there this season.

2005-05: WTKIs seem to be increasing in Linn Co. One was in the Belts
Rd. grasslands 8 Jun (Mark Nikas). Another flew over Pat & Dan Waldron's
place e. of Scio 4 Jul.

2005-07: A WTKI was along the s. side of Price Creek Rd. in Kings Valley
22 Sep (Rana Foster).

2005-08: A WTKI was at the prairie overlook at Finley NWR 18 Oct (Steve
Gordon), where more should be gathering in the coming months.

2005-09: A WTKI showed up in the s. part of E.E. Wilson in the last week
of Oct (fide Ray Fiori). Six were in Kings Valley 9 Nov (Salem Audubon
Society field trip).

2005-10: A WTKI was along the Alsea Deadwood Hwy at South Fork Rd. 27
Nov (Don Boucher, Lisa Millbank). I saw one was along Simpson Rd. in se.
Polk Co. 12 Dec, and another just s. of Airlie 26 Dec. One was also
found on the Brownsville CBC 26 Dec.

2005-11: A WTKI was hunting in the West Corvallis Hills 26-28 Dec (Terry
Thayer). Good numbers have been seen n. of Corvallis this winter; on 31
Dec Paula Vanderheul and Marcia Cutler saw one at the National Guard
Rifle Range, one along De Armond Rd, and five more n. of Airlie.

2006-02: Several WTKIs were seen regularly near Airlie. Four were in the
Alsea area 3 Feb (Marcia Cutler, Mary Garrard, Rich Armstrong). One was
perched near the s. end of 53rd St. in SW Corvallis 20 Feb (Jim & Karan

2006-03: WTKI sightings included an adult and imm. near Kings Valley 7
Mar (M Cutler, Rich & Nanette Armstrong) and three at the w. end of
Plymouth Rd. s. of Philomath 12 Mar (Jim & Karan Fairchild).

2006-04: WTKIs were seen just e. & just w. of Alsea 6 Apr (R Armstrong
et al.).

2006-05: The only WTKI report this period was one 1/4 mi. e. of the
Benton Co. Fairgrounds 19 May (Stephanie Drake fide D Boucher).

2006-07: A WTKI was at Finley NWR 17 Sep (L Millbank, D Boucher).

2006-09: Two WTKIs were at the prairie overlook at Finley 16 Nov, and
one was there 24 Nov (S Seibel; Jim, Karl & Karan Fairchild, Ulo

2006-10: WTKIs were seen regularly around the prairie overlook at Finley
NWR (m. obs.). One was at Marys River Natural Park 9 Dec (Don Boucher).

2007-01: Two WTKIs at Marys River Natural Park 5 Jan (Howard Bruner)
continued thru the period. On 21 Jan they were perching next to each
other and engaging in apparent courtship rituals (D Boucher, L
Millbank). Another kite was w. of the covered bridge on the Campus Way
bike path 9 Jan (R Armstrong).

2007-02: A pair of WTKIs continued at Marys River Natural Park thru 28
Jan (Will Wright fide D Boucher). One was at E.E. Wilson 5 & 17 Feb (Don
& Roberta Hall; Chris & Mike Miller). One was hunting near Finley
headquarters 13 Feb (A Purviance). Two were at the Finley prairie
overlook 19 Feb, one eating a vole (Randy & Pam Comeleo). In Linn Co.,
Tom Snetsinger found a pair in courtship flight on Marks Ridge n. of
Sweet Home 17 Feb.

2007-03: A WTKI was at the Lincoln Prairie overlook at Finley 21 Feb
thru 4 Mar (M Cutler, P Vanderheul; Andy Purviance). A pair continued at
Marys River NP 4 Mar (D Boucher) and one was still along Brooklane 20
Mar (Tom Ahlstrom). A pair hunted fields near Alsea 10 Mar (L Parker).

2007-07: Two WTKIs flew in to hunt over a prairie restoration at Finley
NWR after a prescribed burn on 26 Sep (Molly Monroe).

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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