Friday, February 14, 2020

Swallow-tailed Kites are Heading North

ARCI, together with Orleans Audubon, tracked 16 Swallow-tailed Kites with GPS-transmitters from their breeding grounds in the United States to their wintering grounds in South America last fall. They have been settled in parts of Brazil and Bolivia since the end of September. Then on January 18, 2020, we had our first report of a northbound kite! This map update is from 4 February, 2020.

That first northbound kite was Sanibel, a male from Sanibel Island, Florida. Although he was the first, he was not the farthest north. Hobolochitto from Mississippi has also started to migrate and is the farthest north, in the State of Amazonas, Brazil. We’ve recently lost signal on Hobolochitto and are hoping there is just a technical problem with the transmitter.
Five tracked kites are in Rondônia, Brazil, where Wilson, Sanibel, and Apopka are about 150 miles north of Lacombe and PBC-ERM Male.

Ponchitolawa and JAX have also started migrating and are in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, where both Sarasota and Suwannee are still wintering.

Farthest south in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, Babcock and Sawgrass are wintering in remote areas where we have not received their signals for four to five weeks. We hope when they start north they will come into contact with cell towers and upload their location data.

*Not pictured is Bayou Vincent, who most likely died on her wintering grounds in Bolivia, and OK and PBC-ERM Female, both last heard in Colombia in August 2019 on their southbound route. We are still holding hope that they are out of cell service, preventing the transfer of their location information.