This observation required a trip to far southeast Dallas County. I picked up on a sighting of a Swallow-tailed Kite from a posting on the Dallas Audubon website. The report had one swallow-tail flying with Mississippi Kites over pasture land adjacent to Bilindsay Road.
Swallow-tailed Kites are some of the rarest and most intriguing birds in Dallas County. According to some authorities Swallow-tailed Kites should not even be in Texas, much less Dallas County. This is a very special observation.
I arrived on site at around 11:00am, and found Mississippi Kites—which are relatively common in DFW—flying around through the air around like a swarm of bees. There were dozens of them. Kettles of kites would form, merge, and breakup. Several kettles were sometimes active at the same time, and often they would collect right overhead.
Occasionally a Mississippi Kite would break off from the group to do a little hunting. The bird would fold his wings back and dive to the grass to nab a grasshopper or dragonfly. The Mississippi Kites alone were worth the trip down.
But, I was there for the swallow-tail. About fifteen minutes after arriving I spotted a lone Swallow-tailed Kite coming in from the north flying low along the ponds and trees to the west of Bilindsay Road.
He continued heading in my general direction all the while putting on quite a show for me. At various times I would find him soaring overhead, or interacting with the Mississippi Kites, or feeding on a grasshopper while soaring through the sky. Towards the end I watched as he circled higher and higher into the air. It was all really quite excellent!
By noon the Texas heat had taken its toll, and the swarming kites abruptly disappeared. All at once the birds retreated to the trees on the east side of the road to hide out from the blazing sun.
|Date||–||Aug 23, 2013|
|Time of Day||–||Noon|
|Temperature||–||Hot (greater than 89°F/32°C)|
|Type of Behavior||–||Flying|
|Main Article||–||Swallow-tailed Kite||Observation Location|