We weren’t sure where it came from but, judging by his age and condition, I was certain it had not traveled far. In time, we named it “Wrong Way.” The bird is not releasable due to both its restricted vision and the abnormal molting of its tail feathers. With permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it remains with us as an education ambassador.
|Adult MIKI in stick nest|
Several days later, DNR staff were able to locate a nest containing one feathered chick. The tiny stick nest sits high in a tree in a residential neighborhood. While investigating this siting, I spoke with a landowner who said her nine-year-old son, told her that a “Bald Eagle” was nesting in their front yard. He assumed this because the chick had a white head. This was long before any of us realized the kites were here. She told her son they were some type of hawk but didn’t think anything was unusual about them. It’s a sure bet that most folks in the Great Lakes region wouldn’t recognize this species.
Kites are relatively small, similar in size to a pigeon, and a member of the hawk family. Their diet consists mainly of dragonflies, an occasional small bird, and other insects. They are known to transfer food from their feet to their beaks in flight. In recent years kites have been expanding their range in the U.S. nesting as far north as New Hampshire, Illinois and Canada.
This is an exciting development on two fronts. First, is that the Mississippi Kite has finally been confirmed as a breeding species in Wisconsin. And second, is that wildlife outreach programs, conducted by organizations like Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center, can be shown to have a positive impact on raising the public’s awareness and knowledge about Wisconsin’s rich wildlife resources.
The Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center is proud to have played a small part in this historical event. Attend one of our education programs and see for yourself that education can make a difference.