A Tough Beginning

I get to witness something new nearly every day, however that doesn’t mean that I understand what I see.  Something has been off with the resident White-tailed Kites this year.  Until yesterday, it was merely a nagging thought deep in my mind, that was easily pushed away.  The female kite has been acting differently for many weeks now, and I’m not at all convinced this is the same one as in year’s past.  Individually, her previous actions could be downplayed as over analysis on my part.  But now there is no question.   Yesterday, we witnessed her repeatedly threatening to attack one of her own young, who had just fledged last week.  Strangely, the pair of Kites constructed a second nest before their first batch had fledged.  Now that the female seems to be sitting on new eggs, she is treating her current fledgling (we have not seen the 2nd fledgling) as a threat to the new nest and chases it away every time it takes flight.  It was a sad sight to see, and we’re worried about the youngster.

“Juvenile White-tailed Kite”  –  Goleta, California


6 Responses to A Tough Beginning

  1. Beth says:

    Those are fabulous shots Barry. You know I have seen the first fledgling over at the new nest. Teddy and Yuji and I saw that the 2nd day after it fledged. And at that time it looked like Dad was trying to get it to stay away from there . It flew over it and put out it’s talons. Another day I saw it over by the new nest and mom for a long time. In fact the couple mated with it right there. Could it be that she is trying to keep it away from the new nest and eggs? I am not sure and you are so observant. I am worred about this behavior. I will have to come there tomorrow. Now you have me wondering. Thank you so much for this post. I appreciate your keen ovservations.

  2. Beth says:

    Another note. Both Fledglings were in the dead snag to the right of the nest yesterday afternoon.
    I left that area about 4:30 But I did hear a rucus over there later from where I was. Wow.. I might have to go today. I am really wondering. I had never thought that this may be a different female.

  3. Very interesting. This female incubated the first batch and feels they are now a threat to the next?

  4. wildphotography says:

    Yeah, that seems to be her attitude. Very strange and not very motherly…

  5. Trish Carney says:

    Great shots Barry. And interesting observations.

  6. Teddy says:

    On April 23, I noticed several kite behaviors. The male adult (I assume) flew to the first nest and dropped a rodent where the chick still nested and with the fledgling nearby. He did this twice during the 1-2 hrs I watched. Each time the two young ones ate together. During that same time frame, the fledgling flew to the second nest and was allowed to stay after the adult female flew into it. Later, the adults mated in the snag nearby. Perhaps gestation had reached a point where the adult female is becoming more protective of her new nest/eggs and is urging her first two to hunt for themselves. I’m looking forward to being there with my daughters Sat and Sun to observe the kites.

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