Kite Hunting

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Video by Elizabeth Sharf

The White-tailed Kite is famous for its ability to hover like a hummingbird, a behavior that has given birth to the verb ‘kiting.’ Here park visitor Elizabeth Sharf has captured a beautiful example. The kite sometimes just soars motionless on the wind, but then moves slightly and holds its position with rapid wingbeats. All the time its eyes are zeroed in on something in the grass below. When it has its unsuspecting prey lined up just right, the bird drops like a stone. Once the kite’s talons fasten on its neck, the careless little mammal is done for. We can’t tell from the video what the bird caught, but it was probably a vole. They’re prolific breeders, abundant in the park, and the favorite meal of feathered raptors, including the kite.

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Clip from video by Elizabeth Sharf

More about White-tailed Kites: Wikipedia Audubon Cornell In Chavez Park

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