Video: Swallow-tailed Kites in Flight

By: Kevin Mims

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Here in Florida, there are a lot of ways to know when spring has arrived. Some watch for Florida dogwoods blooming, others simply just figure it out based on the weather. For a sure-fire way to know for sure if spring is here, all you have to do is looks for kites flying overhead.

We're talking Swallow-tailed Kites here, a favorite raptor for Florida birders. They are commonly seen soaring overhead in groups of two or three, but it's a little uncommon to get a look at them in large groups. I took this video last year during the summer, when they start to gather together to make the journey to Brazil for the winter. During this time, there are several places around the state where the group of birds can number in the thousands. Pretty cool, huh?

In the spring, Swallow-tailed Kites travel to Florida to nest, feeding primarily on insects and small reptiles. For birders, Florida is the go-to state to see Swallow-tailed kites, and is the symbol for the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Speaking of the trail, you can find out more about Swallow-tailed Kites by visiting http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/conservation/bird/swallow-tailed_kite/.

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