Kites Prospecting

White-tailed Kites (Elanus leucurus) Video James Kusz

White-tailed Kites have been hunting and also nesting around Cesar Chavez Park for several years to my knowledge, and probably for decades before that. Three years ago a pair of kites built a nest in a cypress tree in the parking lot of the Hilton hotel next door to the park. That effort turned into a drama and then a nightmare as most of the fledglings left the nest before they were strong flyers, and the local American Crows hounded them, in some cases to death. See, e.g., “Murder by Crows,” May 5 2019 and related items. Here photographer James Kusz has captured two kites, presumably a pair, up in the same trees, possibly checking the area out as a nest site. As if reading their minds, a crow takes up a perch between them and lets its presence be known.

Although the kites are bigger and better armed than the crows and could take and hurt them, they refrain from attacking them, even when their chicks are in danger. I don’t quite understand that, but it is so. MATWOB (Mysterious Are The Ways of Birds).

White-tailed Kites (Elanus leucurus) Frame from video by James Kusz

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