Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hook-billed Kites - post-Hurricane Alex - July 1, 2010

I went out to check on the Hook-billed Kites today. I found the female feeding quite close to the access road.

She flew in repeatedly and landed in a small snag. From the snag she peered around and then dropped to the ground, often quite close to the perch. She quickly reappeared and I could see her eating snails. She seemed to be taking a long time to process each snail, until I realized that the snails were in clumps - presumably mating - and she was grabbing a clump each time she went to the ground.

She then ate all but one snail in the clump, and took that last snail to the feeding perch by the nest.

Although their diet is almost entirely Rhabdotus snails, the Hook-billed Kites are attacked by resident nesting birds including Northern Mockingbird, Western Kingbird, and Red-winged Blackbird.

The nest is so flimsy I had to check on the chick after the arrival and departure of Tropical Storm Alex. Here is the check, standing up and feisty, waiting for the next snail delivery.

Time to get out and leave things be.