"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kite Weather

You can hear their shrill cry every day. And see them gracefully soaring through the sky, several at a time. The Mississippi Kites are back, nesting in the big oak and other trees in our neighborhood and across Oklahoma City.

 I love watching and listening to these small hawks, fellow travelers, wild and free children of Nature.

They're a bird success story, adapting to urban life where there are less predators--owls and raccoons, etc.--to prey on their nesting colonies...usually two eggs a nest. Their range is increasing, and their numbers, although breeding range is southern Great Plains and the Southeast. After about two months of nurturing eggs and feeding young, they'll be off on a fall migration to South America because their main diet of insects decrease. They'll also eat small amphibians and sometimes a rabbit or small pet, but I suspect in Oklahoma they're fat and sassy on our summer insects.

Graceful doesn't seem to adequately describe their aerial ability and buoyancy. I'm fascinated how their long, pointed wings--about a three-foot wingspan-- and slender tail work in unison go guide them through the skies.

This is one of several favorite birds, others being the Osprey, and almost any owl. But Mississippi Kites are welcome, perennial guests who capture my imagination, wonder and admiration.


Photo from the Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/MigratoryBirds/default.cfm

2 comments:

  1. What an impressive image - that kite soaring high on the currents. It always makes me sad that birds and other animals have had to adapt...but, it makes me happy that they can.

    "Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers."
    - Yevtushenko

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  2. oh my, you get to the heart of it always...no frontiers...a poem doesn't mean...it just is...as with Mississippi Kites

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