|PearlMS begins his southbound migration heading west to circumvent the Gulf of Mexico.|
The last of our seven GPS-satellite tagged Swallow-tailed Kites has begun his southbound migration...heading west. Ten days later than last year, PearlMS left his summer range near the Pearl River in Mississippi on 27 August, and began flying westward around the Gulf of Mexico. His first stop, 120 miles away, was the rich lowlands of Bayou Nezpique, near Jennings, Louisiana, where he remained as of 31 August.
During either their spring or fall migrations, Swallow-tailed Kites like PearlMS from the western subpopulation (Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) may fly south directly across the Gulf of Mexico, or they may head west and travel entirely overland, following the Gulf coastline through Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico.
By comparison, Swallow-tailed Kites that nest in the eastern portion of the species’ U.S. range (South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) cross the Gulf of Mexico during their spring and fall migrations, but their routes differ depending on the season. Migrating southward at the end of the nesting season, they fly from southwestern Florida to the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico either directly or with brief stops on Cuba. When they return in the spring, they depart from the Yucatan Peninsula and make landfall somewhere along the northern Gulf coast, from Louisiana to Florida.
|Jennifer Coulson of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries|
Photo by Tom Coulson
If you have followed our blogs, you know that PearlMS is one of three kites tagged in Louisiana and Mississippi by our long-time colleague Jennifer Coulson. Dr. Coulson has studied Swallow-tailed Kites in this region for many years.
Learn more about her work here: http://www.jjaudubon.net/research