Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swallow-tailed Kite on Jekyll in June

There were several people who told me they had seen a Swallow-tailed Kite on Jekyll in June.  This is rather early or late for this species to be seen regularly on a barrier island.  However, they do nest just over the marsh so I did not think much about it.   Well, I did feel I was missing a beautiful bird so I did think about it a little. 
Late in June I got a call from Cheryl,  Captain Mark Miller from Little Cumberland Island had fished a bird out of the St. Andrews Sound.  This is the body of water between Little Cumberland and Jekyll Islands.  She wanted to know where to take it.  It was a raptor.  "Take it to the Turtle Center" I replied.  We need to know more about the health of our birds.  So the bird went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  The bird was a juvenile Swallow-tailed Kite.  Was this the same bird everyone had been reporting to me? 
This is the kite when it arrived at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. 
 Here is Mark's story of finding the kite:
"Last Saturday, I was running a boat and spotted a bird floating in the water in front of St Andrews Park on the southern tip of Jekyll Island. I turned around and observed the bird trying to swim. We drifted up to it and at first glance thought it might be an eagle. It was attempting to paddle with its wings, definitely not a waterbird. We made a pass by it and I simply reached over and scooped it up. I took the bird to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Rachael checked the bird in to the center. It turned out to be a juvenile Kite. Over the last week it has been cared for by the Center and brought back to good health."
This bird recovered.
And yesterday July 10, Tim Keyes,
Wildlife Biologist,  Nongame Conservation Section, Wildlife Resources Division sent out an email. 

Since I don't have any pictures of the release, this a sketch I did last August of Swallow-tailed Kites feeding over a field.

Here is what Tim said:  "The release went well. We found a group of about 50 Swallow-tailed Kites feeding in Brantley county. Upon release the bird flew to a tree and perched for about 1/2 hour. It was then seen circling and foraging with other kites, and was seen feeding on the wing.

We have a transmitter on it, so we will try to keep track of it to confirm it is able to feed etc..."

This is a wonderful ending for a young bird.  Thanks all of you who were there to help.


dAwN said...

That's great! Happy it is free now

Linda said...

Thanks was really a happy ending :)