homepage logo

Swallow-Tailed Kites Fly into Spotlight at San-Cap Audubon

By Staff | Jan 19, 2012

Ken Meyer, Founder of Avian Research and Conservation Institute at University of Florida, will discuss the elusive nature of Swallow-Tail Kites during the San-Cap Audobon Society Lecture Series.

San-Cap Audubon’s forth lecture program of the 2012 season will feature Dr. Ken Meyer of the University of Florida, Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Founder, Avian Research and Conservation Institute. In a program entitled “Pursuing the Elusive Swallow-tailed Kite” to be presented on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 7:30PM at the Sanibel Community House, Dr. Meyer will relate his amazing experiences studying these wonderful elusive birds.

Young John James Audubon who arrived in American in 1803 is thought to be the first to attempt to track bird movements by tying a string around the leg of a captured Eastern Phoebe before releasing it.

Today, utilizing his modern continent spanning satellite and radio transmission techniques, Dr. Meyer is pursuing Swallow-tailed Kites gathering data in an effort to determine their current nesting regiments. He honed his field work in the public sector as a research biologist in the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. His hope is that the demographics and migration information he is collecting will help explain why U.S. populations of Swallow-tailed Kites are not using all of the territory that has historically been part of their breeding range.

One of the most beautiful birds in Florida, the unmistakable, elegant swallow-tailed kite is easily recognized by its deeply forked tail, distinctive black and white plumage, and graceful aerial displays. Swallow-tail kites arrive at their breeding grounds in Florida from South America in late February to mid-March. They are most obvious at this time of year as they carry nesting material to their chosen nest site often in the very tops of the tallest trees The Swallow-tailed kite spends most of the day gliding and simply flipping one side of his forked tail to change direction. These birds are almost always seen in the air and, if you are lucky enough to be able to watch one for any length of time you may notice it swoop to pluck an insect out of the sky or dive for drink from the surface of a river or lake. They rarely land.

This is the forth of eight Sanibel-Captiva Audubon lectures to be held in 2012 on Thursday evenings at 7:30PM at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. As always, all are welcome to attend. Doors open at 6:30 PM, and parking is available at the Community House as well as across Periwinkle Way in the Schoolhouse Theater parking area. A $5.00 donation is appreciated with proceeds being used to promote conservation on Sanibel and in Florida. For additional information, call Elaine Jacobson at (239) 395-1878 or visit the San-Cap Audubon Web site at www.sancapaudubon.org.