We last heard from Panther on 26 January – nearly 40 days ago. The weeks went by and we remained hopeful, but the kites face challenges and risks on their winter and migration ranges. To our great relief, we just received data from Panther as she is making her way northward through Panama.
MIA faced harsh headwinds this weekend as he attempted to cross the Gulf of Mexico - weather that could have resulted in his death. We know that Swallow-tailed Kites can endure no more than 4 days of over-water flight before becoming unable to continue. However, MIA veered east in time, with the help of a slight shift in wind direction, and found refuge on Cuba 95 miles east of Havana. The winds have calmed and shifted to southerly, providing a tailwind that will ensure an easy final leg of to Florida and an arrival close to home.
Lacombe is beginning to cross the Andes Mountains. We should soon see Palmetto and Sawgrass do the same as they steadily move northward.
Costa Rica and Nicaragua might have seemed a blur to Bullfrog, who flew over land from Panama to Honduras in only 4 days. She will reach the Yucatan Peninsula within a few days and become our second tagged kite to take on the risky trans-Gulf flight home.