Kite Tales - July 2017


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Kite Tales

the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's monthly newsletter

Swallow-tailed kite by Jack Rogers

Swallow-tailed Kite

The mascot of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is a much admired, graceful, elegant raptor that can be found throughout much of the state from early spring to early fall. During the winter months, all of the United States’ swallow-tailed kites can be found in Brazil. The kites begin to leave Brazil around the turn of the year and fly more than 3,000 miles to the south-eastern USA. The first kites are often reported from southern Florida in early February but the bulk of our state population doesn’t arrive until late-March/early-April.

Flying with consummate ease the kite plucks frogs, lizards, snakes, ants, dragonflies and even nestlings from the tops of trees; in Central America, kites have even been observed eating fruit! Kites prefer to eat their food on the wing. During the spring and summer it is not uncommon to see several pairs of kites building their nests in close proximity to each other.

Look for swallow-tailed kites over wetland habitats, along rivers, over agricultural fields (particularly in late summer) and pine forest. Large congregations of kites gather in select areas around Florida in late July and August before they embark on their long journey south to Brazil.

The Avian Research and Conservation Institute has been studying swallow-tailed kites since 1988. Their research has revealed many important and fascinating aspects of kite ecology. To learn more visit the ARCI website.

To learn more about where you can see swallow-tailed kites in Florida visit the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail website.


UPDATED Checklists!

Both of our Checklist of Florida’s Birds and Checklist of Florida Butterflies have been updated (June 2017). You can order a printed copy (7.25 x 4.5 inch booklet) from our website.

Order your printed copy HERE.

a young chicken turtle by Andy Wraithmell

Florida Nature Trackers

Collectively, you all explore most of Florida and encounter many of its plant and animal species. Our biologists want your help to understand where plants and animals occur in the state. Share your finds using Florida Nature Trackers, an FWC program that uses iNaturalist to document Florida’s natural heritage. We are adding new projects all the time, including projects for each of our wildlife management areas and a wide variety of taxonomic groups. Visit to learn more.

black skimmers by Maren Arndt

Saturday Share

This Facebook sticky has proved to be very popular with our followers. Come and join in! All you have to do to take part is look for our Facebook post at noon every Saturday and share a bird, animal, insect, and sunset or landscape picture as a comment. The picture has to be taken in Florida. Whitney and Andy will pick out their favorite, which will then be featured on the Saturday Share post the following week.

Por favor comparta su foto del atardecer como un comentario y podremos utilizarla para el “Saturday Share” post de la semana que viene. 


  • Swallow-tailed Kites
  • Florida Nature Trackers
  • Updated Checklists
  • Saturday Share


The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 510 sites spread throughout the state. The Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will continue to make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends.



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