Friday, February 13, 2015

MIA races for the Andes, Bluff still in idle

All but two of our seven GPS/satellite-tagged Swallow-tailed Kites are moving their way north to the U.S. Their locations spread almost 2,000 miles across Brazil, Peru and Colombia. The four birds that wintered the farthest south in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, have leap-frogged the others and are now ahead of the pack. 
Swallow-tailed Kite Northbound migration 2015. Tracks show movements from 1/20/15 - 2/9/15.
© Avian Research and Conservation Institute
MIA is in the lead in Putumayo, Colombia. His views are about to change from expansive green rainforests to the peaks of the Colombian Andes.

Several hundred miles behind are Day and Gulf Hammock in Loreto, Peru, a sparsely populated region covered with wide river flood plains. The prey diversity of this rich rainforest is advantageous to the migrating kites. Notice how the tracks of MIA, Day and Gulf Hammock look like curly straws in this area – they obviously couldn’t resist slowing down here to plump up on some high calorie road food.

Pace and Palmetto are 115 miles apart in Mato Grosso, Brazil. As Palmetto pressed north, she passed within 20 miles of her mate, Bluff, who has yet to leave his winter range. This is the first nesting pair of Swallow-tailed Kites that has ever been tracked with GPS/satellite-transmitters; make sure you keep an eye on them!

PearlMS remains in Rondonia, Brazil. Day passed right through her winter range on 22 January. Wonder if they foraged together for a day?

Fly on!