Monday, May 11, 2009

Report Swallow-Tailed Kite Sightings

Spring is the time when the black and white raptors known as Swallow-Tailed Kites are most visible in our area as they move up from Florida. South Carolina is in the upper reaches of their breeding range, but since Lowcountry habitat is favorable to them their population trend is on the increase. The Center for Birds of Prey in Charleston is managing a Citizen Science Project that rely's on input from the public about sightings of the bird. Their long, scissor-like tail is what sets them apart from other birds and they can be a barometer for the health of surrounding bottomland hardwoods and grasslands since they won't frequent any areas that don't provide adequate nesting and foraging zones. So far in 2009 has reported three sightings - all in Colleton County, which makes it a three year trend of seeing these birds just West of I-95.  These magnificent looking birds that soar with ease are welcome to joint the flock of avian species that thrive in the coastal plain.

For past blog entries about kites click here.

Photo By Lynn Hackett and courtesy Tera Baird of USFWS: Swallow-Tailed Kite in flight


  1. Hey Jeff. David and I were in Walterboro this weekend (quick trip--arrived late Sat and left late this afternoon). Believe it or not, we saw a swallow tailed kite this morning (around 9:30am) flying over the house and field. It was right at tree top level. It flew over the field and house for 2-3 minutes before heading over towards Bruce's property. We were quite shocked to see one there as it's inland (the only place we've ever seen them is at Caw Caw). Anyway, we just reported it to the Center of Birds website. Have you seen any out there before?
    Also, am glad to hear the Bobwhite Quail again (heard one Sat late afternoon). It's been years since i've heard them. Talk to you soon. Rebekah (Richardson) Whichard

  2. Last year, while looking at property in Orangeburg county, I saw around 20 Florida Kites and two Swallowtails cruising around in the same area. It was quite a sight! Great job on your blog, Jeff.

    Bob Sanders
    Edisto Inshore Charters
    Big Fork Farms LLC
    Real Estate Sales


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