Thursday, October 15, 2020

GPS-tracked Swallow-tailed Kites check in from South America

ARCI is currently tracking 11 Swallow-tailed Kites with GPS transmitters. One male, Ponchitolawa, was tagged in Louisiana by our colleague, Dr. Jennifer Coulson of Orleans Audubon.

Since the beginning of September, these Swallow-tailed Kites have been in and out of cell service as they cross the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin, therefore, the data uploads have been spotty. Some birds have not checked in for a while, so our fingers are crossed until they are “out of the woods” and upload their location data again.

Photo Credit:  A. Kent.

Five of the kites are on or near their wintering grounds in Brazil. PBC-ERM male is the farthest south in Mato Grosso, Brazil.  Four kites, Ponchitolawa, Pritchard, Apopka, and Suwannee are in the State of Rondônia, Brazil.

We recently received data from Sarasota who had been out of cell service in the Peruvian rainforest since early September.  He is now in the State of Acre, Brazil.

We await data from four kites that last uploaded their data in Colombia (Jeaga 2, Sanibel South, and Sawgrass) or Panama (Jeaga 1).

 

Not pictured is Jeaga 3, a kite that last uploaded data 11 miles from the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico. We have grown less optimistic that we will receive a signal from her. Migration is a risky endeavor for birds, especially those crossing large expanses of water. However, it appears that this year’s southbound crossing of the Gulf of Mexico was more dangerous than normal for many of these tracked Swallow-tailed Kites due to unfavorable winds.

As always, we are very grateful to all the organizations and individuals who make ARCI’s long-term studies of Swallow-tailed Kites possible. Your support helps us understand how these beautiful birds complete their incredible journeys, their use of stopover and wintering areas, and how their movements change over time. Contributors supporting this year’s kites include:

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
bioGraphic
Caloosa Bird Club
Clearwater Audubon Society
CROW - Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Friends of the Carlton Reserve
Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge
Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges
Halifax River Audubon
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
National Audubon Society
Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society
Orange Audubon Society
Orleans Audubon Society
Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management
Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Peace River Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation SCCF
Sarasota Audubon Society
Seminole Audubon Society

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
St. Petersburg Audubon Society
Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation
The Avian Reconditioning Center for Birds of Prey
Venice Area Audubon Society
West Volusia Audubon

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Swallow-tailed Kites across the Andes Mountains!

ARCI is tracking 11 Swallow-tailed Kites with GPS transmitters. One male, Ponchitolawa, was tagged in Louisiana by Dr. Jennifer Coulson of Orleans Audubon.

WAY in the lead on southbound migration is Pritchard, a male Swallow-tailed Kite from Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. He is already through the Amazon basin and now in Rondônia, Brazil.

Having made a safe mountain crossing over the Andes, Sawgrass and Suwannee are 1,200 miles behind Pritchard in agricultural areas east of the Andes in Colombia.

Three kites are in the ranks to cross the Andes mountains soon: Jeaga 2, Ponchitolawa and Sarasota.  Not far behind them, three more birds are cruising through the Darien of Panama: PBC-ERM male, Apopka, and Sanibel South.

 

Trailing 400 miles back, Jeaga 1 moves through the east coast of Nicaragua after weeks of stopover behavior in southern Belize.

Not pictured is our missing kite, Jeaga 3, last reporting 11 miles from the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico. We have grown less optimistic that we will receive a signal from her. Migration is a risky endeavor for birds, especially those crossing large expanses of water. However, it appears that this year’s southbound crossing of the Gulf of Mexico was extra dangerous for many of our tracked Swallow-tailed Kites due to unfavorable winds.

We wish all Swallow-tailed Kites a safe journey through the high, cold, Andes Mountains so they can get to the prey-rich regions of the Amazon.

As always, we are very grateful to all the organizations and individuals who make ARCI’s long-term studies of Swallow-tailed Kites possible. Your support helps us understand how these beautiful birds complete their incredible journeys. Contributors supporting this year’s kites includes:

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
bioGraphic
Caloosa Bird Club
Clearwater Audubon Society
CROW - Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Friends of the Carlton Reserve
Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge
Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges
Halifax River Audubon
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
National Audubon Society
Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society
Orange Audubon Society
Orleans Audubon Society
Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management
Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Peace River Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation SCCF
Sarasota Audubon Society
Seminole Audubon Society

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
St. Petersburg Audubon Society
Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation
The Avian Reconditioning Center for Birds of Prey
Venice Area Audubon Society
West Volusia Audubon


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Kites are cruising through Central America!

Ponchitolowa, a GPS-tracked Swallow-tailed Kite tagged in Louisiana by Dr. Jennifer Coulson, made a fantastic migration from Louisiana across the Gulf of Mexico to Veracruz, Mexico ahead of the disastrous hurricanes that came ashore from the northern Gulf shore. Ponchitolowa continued safely through Mexico and is now moving through southern Belize. We hope our friends and supporters there are doing as well as can be hoped for in the wake of Hurricane Laura. 

Speaking of being safe, our “missing” Swallow-tailed Kite, Jeaga 3 remains missing, having last reported about 11 miles off of the western Gulf coast of Mexico. We have grown less optimistic that we will ever again receive a signal from her. Migration is always difficult and often very risky for all birds, especially those crossing large expanses of water. However, it appears that this year’s southbound crossing of the Gulf of Mexico was extra dangerous for many of our tracked Swallow-tailed Kites. 

 

Sarasota has slowed down just south of Veracruz Mexico, probably enjoying good opportunities to feed on the local insects in the company of many other kites, including swallow-tails and Mississippi Kites.

Jeaga 1 is still spending her stop-over time ranging throughout the Toledo District of Belize.

Jeaga 2 and Sanibel South continue to make steady southbound progress and have just crossed the Honduras/Nicaragua border.

Sawgrass from Pinellas County, Florida, had an easy trip across the Gulf of Mexico, using western Cuba for a one-night stopover before passing through the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and continuing on into Panama. 

Also in Panama, just ahead of Sawgrass, are Apopka, Pritchard, and PBC-ERM male. It looks like their next challenge will be aerially traversing the high pass through the Andes Mountains in Colombia that has been used by most of the Swallow-tailed Kites we have tracked.

Well in the lead of all these birds is Suwannee, who has already crossed the Andes and is working his way southeastward through Colombia’s portion of the vast Amazon Basin!

As always, we are very grateful to all the organizations and individuals who have made ARCI’s long-term studies of Swallow-tailed Kites possible, thus helping us understand how these amazing birds need our help. The ever-growing list of current contributors includes:

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
bioGraphic
Caloosa Bird Club
Clearwater Audubon Society
CROW - Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Friends of the Carlton Reserve
Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge
Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges
Halifax River Audubon
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
National Audubon Society
Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society
Orange Audubon Society
Orleans Audubon Society
Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management
Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Peace River Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation SCCF
Sarasota Audubon Society
Seminole Audubon Society

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
St. Petersburg Audubon Society
Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation
The Avian Reconditioning Center for Birds of Prey
Venice Area Audubon Society
West Volusia Audubon