The last few days we’ve had a new visitor perching on what we call The Vulture Tree in the back campo. We noticed it a few days ago gliding above the field in search of a tasty tidbit and doing a strange bit of hovering making us wonder what it was. We don’t get seagulls around here and yet it seemed about the size and coloring of a seagull. And seagull’s certainly don’t perch on trees.
We finally examined the bird through the scope while it perched on the tree. It’s such a pain using the scope that I wished I had a telephoto lens for the camera; it would have been so much easier. Finally, SU managed to get a good focus on it and we got out the bird book. Still we had trouble figuring out what it was. By the coloring and size, it definitely wasn’t a Cara Cara but by the beak shape we figured out it was definitely a hawk or a falcon.
After going back and forth through the book and taking turns looking through the lens we finally figured out it was a juvenile White Tailed Kite. This handsome bird has the rest of the birds in the campo all atwitter, even the Vultures. They are all giving him/her a wide berth and making sure it doesn’t get too close to their nests or to them. And the Fly Catchers are the fiercest of all the birds defending their territory.
The clincher in identifying this bird was that it seems to hover on the air currents when it is out hunting. After doing research I discovered that they are able to do this by facing into the wind like a kite, hence the term “kiting”. Here is a short video I found of a White Tailed Kite “kiting”:
White-tailed Kites feed mainly on rodents, and the plowing in the back rice field over the last week has probably stirred up a few critters. If this youngster is here to snack on mice, it’s more than welcome to stay as long as it wants. And this bird makes for some delightful entertainment during Happy Hour on the back porch in the campo.