|Mississippi Kite, hanging in Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.|
|A juvenile Mississippi Kite ruffling its feathers, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.|
When I pulled up to the Bloom School parking lot to begin my search, another former teacher friend of mine, who happened to live in the neighborhood was walking his dog and spotted me. I told him why I was there (I supposed a weird middle-aged man with a big camera might look suspiscious at an elementary school), and he told me that people with cameras are always camped out taking pictures of these southern raptors, since they started arriving and nesting here 4-5 years ago. That answered my question about where on earth they might be migrating from. It also seems to point out how global warming has changed many birds' migration and nesting habits. Mississippi Kites are traditionally a southern bird, found in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and along the Southern Atlantic Seaboard States as well as along the Southern Mississippi River in Tennessee, Kentucky and Southern Illinois (hence its name). So their nesting in Northern Illinois for the past half decade is clear indication about the change in climate and temperature and how it affects wildlife.
My friend told me that this summer the M. Kites raised two young and also what tree they like to perch in. After he continued his dog-walking chore, I started to scout out the place, and within minutes I caught sight of a large bird with a high-pitched whistle fly low over the school's playground and alight in the exact tree. This was indeed a Mississippi Kite - in fact a juvenile (Above). It was fairly high up in the tree and was only able to get a few underneath shots. It flew off and a few minutes later I spotted two adult M. Kites hovering in the sky. One of them landed in the same tree (Top and Below) that the juvenile vacated, while the other flew out of sight.
|"Only the Shadow knows" pose by a Mississippi Kite, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.|
|Another look at an adult Mississippi Kite ready to take off from its perch, Rockford, IL; 8/29/2011.|
|Migrating birds resting in a tree at dusk near our home, Rockford, IL; 4/1/2011.|