It is a wonderful feeling to watch a Swallow-tailed Kite fly strongly away after it was successfully fitted with a transmitter. One mid-afternoon in early June, after the dark thunderclouds that frequent Florida’s summer skies had rolled through and the drizzle of rain had given us a reprieve, ARCI, staff from the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (FPNWR), and members of the Caloosa Bird Club all experienced that feeling. FPNWR biologist Mark Danaher released the graceful, black-and-white raptor (see above video) and we cheered as we watched it turn into a silhouette in the cloudy sky.
|ARCI's Gina Kent carries Okaloacoochee to our work station after |
quickly removing the bird from the mist net.
That silhouette is now known as Okaloacoochee (OK for short). Tagged in Collier County, Florida, south of Okaloacoochee Slough, OK now wears a GPS/GSM tracking unit that will show us its daily movements and migration patterns. We do not yet know if the kite is male or female. With the GPS data we have already received, Mark was able to locate its nest, and to date, Okaloachoochee is in that same nesting area.
|Left: Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge staff and members|
of Caloosa Bird Club look on as ARCI fits OK with a transmitter.
Right: Okaloacoochee's new GPS/GSM transmitter by Ecotone Telemetry.
We would like to thank the Friends of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and the Caloosa Bird Club for their generous support enabling the tagging and tracking of Okaloacoochee.