Swallow-tailed kite soaring on St. Patrick's Day, 2013
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 aCitizen Science Projectthat 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. One dividend of spending time in the turkey woods is the observation of the natural world, and so far in 2013 I have observed this raptor for three days soaring over recently burned pines associated with agriculture fields and a creek with hardwood bottomlands. To view past blog entries about the Swallow-Tailed Kite click here.