Kite Kiting

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Photo Brendan Tidd

The White-tailed Kite frequently visits the park in season and is a favorite subject of photography. But few if any photos have caught the bird so well as this one from Brendan Tidd, a new contributor to this site. This kite expertly hovers in one spot, its talons extended and ready to drop like a rock on an unsuspecting mouse or vole below. The bird has lent its name, “kiting,” to this behavior. Some other birds of prey, such as Red-tailed Hawks, are able to hover in place by gliding in a wind, but the White-tailed Kite can do it in still air by flapping its wings. Only the hummingbird is more versatile in flight.

I happened to meet Brendan as we were both walking north with cameras. He wanted to see the Burrowing Owl, as did I, and I was able to spot it and and share it with him. Brendan says, “l was born in Oakland, I grew up here in the Bay Area. I’m 32 years old. I’m a dog walker, animal lover, wildlife photographer. I share my photos on Instagram. My user name is @b.tidd. I visited Cesar Chavez Park many times as a kid with my family and my dogs. Sometimes we’d fly kites. I have fond memories from that park, and now I have a new memory to add: seeing a Burrowing Owl.”

Brendan got this beautifully clear and sharp picture of the owl on Nov. 24:

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Photo Brendan Tidd.

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