Although we are never sure
which of our satellite/GPS-tracked Swallow-tailed Kites will leave the U. S.
first on their southbound migration, one of the trends has been for birds
nesting the farthest south, such as MIA,
to leave the soonest; and for those nesting along the northern Gulf coast to
depart later. This year Day, a
female tagged in 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida, was the first to go.
|Day, a Swallow-tailed Kite tagged in Daytona, Florida, is the first tracked bird to |
depart the U.S. for the 2015 fall migration.
After nesting, she moved into a large
communal roost in Volusia County, east-central Florida, where she remained for
24 days before starting south on 25 July.
Day spent a night in the ranchlands of Osceola County, Florida, then
another three nights in the largest of the known night roosts just west of Lake
Her final night in Florida
was on Cape Sable, the tip of Everglades National Park at the southern extreme
of the Florida peninsula. At daybreak on
30 July, she slipped across Florida Bay, the Florida Keys, and out over the
Florida Straits on her way to Cuba. Day
was over water for 14 hours before reaching the islands northern shore and
rested only a few hours before continuing westward for the length of the
Guanahacabibes Peninsula and out over the Yucatan Chanel to the Yucatan Peninsula. We will see if she makes a lengthy stopover
here, which many kites do, before resuming her long southbound migration entirely
|Day's plumage is inspected for parasites and molt just prior to release |
in Daytona Beach, Florida.
|Locations and movements of nine GPS/Satellite-tracked Swallow-tailed Kites |
as the 2015 southbound migration commences.
The second bird to leave
the U.S. was Strong River, which our
collaborator, Dr. Jennifer Coulson, tagged late in the nesting season in Mississippi. This is the first time that a kite tagged west
of the Florida Panhandle began its southbound migration so early. More on
Strong River’s trip in our next blog.
MIA, Pace, Lacombe, PearlMS, and Gulf
Hammock are still in their same locations described in our previous blog.
The Swallow-tailed Kites
to watch are Bullfrog, still feeding
and roosting south of Lake Okeechobee in Hendry county Florida; and Palmetto of South Carolina. Palmetto
recently left her pre-migration staging area on Georgia’s Altamaha River and
has made her way south to Sumter County in west-central Florida.
You can help ARCI continue to acquire tracking data and share the stories of these birds lives on this blog by becoming a Keep on Trackin' sponsor. A gift of just $5/month buys two weeks of satellite data each year. Learn more on our Keep on Trackin' program page.