Friday, August 14, 2020

And so it begins… Swallow-tailed Kites migrate south 2020 style.

If Sanibel South’s migration didn't produce enough nail-biting anticipation…we’ve got some stories for you soon!  To set the stage we are taking the timeline and maps back to last week.

From north to south:  

Sawgrass from Pinellas County, FL returned for the 4th year in a row to favorite pre-migratory foraging aggregations around the Savannah River south of Augusta Georgia.  This is 375 miles north of her breeding area.  

Pritchard is also on the Savannah River at the National Wildlife Refuge, which is 10 miles from Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina where he spent the summer.

Ponchitolawa, tagged by colleague, Dr. Jennifer Coulson of Orleans Audubon, is foraging around the Pearl River in Louisiana.

Sanibel South is taking time to regroup in SE Texas after five days over open ocean flying.  See her extreme migration here in our previous blog.

Suwannee is roosting within the Lower Suwannee NWR and feeding over adjacent farmlands west of Chiefland, FL.

Jeaga 3 has been enjoying the upper St. Johns River and joining hundreds of other Swallow-tailed Kites in a foraging aggregation at the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area.  This is a historically known hot spot for pre-migratory kites.  

Apopka is along the southern reached of the St. Johns River in Brevard County Florida.

Three kites, Jeaga 1, Jeaga 2, and PBC-ERM male are all together in Palm Beach County on ERM lands.  

The Sarasota kite has just started to make his way south,
following the coastline of the western Gulf.

A lot is at stake for these birds to make the “leap” over open ocean to reach the Yucatan Peninsula.  They need the support of tailwinds, and with at least 400 miles to cross, anything can happen - as we soon shall see.

More soon!

As always, we are grateful to all of 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
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. Petersburg Audubon Society
Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation
The Avian Reconditioning Center for Birds of Prey
Venice Area Audubon Society
West Volusia Audubon