Email started flying Saturday that two Mississippi Kites were found in Newmarket, NH. I’m not sure if I’ve followed completely, but it appears that Ben Griffith and Charlie Wright were driving on their way to birding elsewhere and had one fly over. Stopping, they found a second and it went from there. Soon people were reporting that the birds were copulating and carrying sticks! For a species that hasn’t been found breeding north of Virginia, that’s beyond incredible.

I had taken today off planning to go do some atlas work, but plans changed pretty quickly. I left the house just before 8 and was in Newmarket just after 9. As I walked over, 3 birds flew overhead. Two turned out to be Broad-winged Hawks, but the other was one of the kites. Too easy for a life bird around here. Reaching the area they’ve been hanging out (which is a yard right on Main St), two birds were flying back and forth. At one point, one of the birds landed in a tree behind the house but soon took off again.

One birder was already there as I walked up and several others soon joined us. The homeowners were out doing yard work and seemed excited, although I got the impression they didn’t fully understand the significance. We soon backed up across the street as one of the birds came in with a stick and disappeared into the tree right over the road.

After quite some time, I finally found the bird hidden in the tree. It appeared to be sitting on a nest and we soon had 2 scopes on it (not that they helped much). Traffic was getting to be an issue from curious drivers, but I stayed around until the second bird made another couple passes. Of course, I get home and see that 3 birds were seen today!

And for pictures:


Flying Kite

Flying Kite

Flying Kite


Sitting Kite

Incoming with stick:

Kite with stick

And on the nest (you can see a bit of tail and some other feathers if you look closely)

Kite on Nest

Update: Christopher’s collecting links to photos.

3 thoughts on “Kites!”

  1. Nice photos! They remind me of the Kites I used to see in the Midwest, they’d nest right in the middle of town. They seem to really take to the open parks and yards with mature trees.

  2. Last summer I saw the Kites many times, and I think I know what they look like. Last Tuesday (2/17/2009) as I drove South on Rte. 4 near Dover Point I was shocked to see a very large “hawk-like” bird on my right, high in a tree. It was spreading it’s wings, so the breast feathers were not visible to me for more than a fleeting second, however, with the sun out that day it looked white, could easily have been Light grey. I stopped to turn around to get a better look, but with traffic there wasn’t a good place to do so…so I took out my guide book to see if there was another hawk that it could have been. I really think I was looking at the Kite born in Newmarket whose parents left a couple of weeks before I stopped seeing him in the late Autumn.

    I have been trying to locate Steve Meyerick with whom I had talked late in September shortly after the chick fledged, but I don’t know what I did with his emails.

    There haven’t been many days as beautiful as last Tuesday since…so I haven’t seen the bird again…when I do…I now know where I can park so see it with my binocs.

    Anyone have any thoughts as to the sighting? This bird was huge…hawk beak, grey feathers on body with slightly darker wing tips…the breast is my major not sure due to the sun.

    Any comments contact web master for my email address.

    1. Being February, I’d say it’s extremely unlikely that it was one of the kites, which should still be out of the country for another month or so (then again, it was extremely unlikely that they’d in New Hampshire to begin with…). I’m not sure from your description as to what it could be, but the most common hawks this time of year are the Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and maybe a Northern Harrier. And as was just pointed out to me, Peregrine Falcon.
      I’ll pass this on to Steve.

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