Swallow-tailed Kite Research and Conservation Project
The northern Swallow-tailed Kite experienced a severe population decline and dramatic reduction in breeding range from 1880 to 1910. The U.S. breeding range, which once spanned 21 states, is now limited to seven southeastern states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Beginning in 2002, a single pair has sometimes nested in the White River Basin in Arkansas, but not every year. The current U.S. population size is precariously small, and may possibly consist of as few as 2,500 breeding pairs (Meyer 1995). The Swallow-tailed Kite was proposed as a Category 2 candidate for federal listing as a threatened or endangered species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1985). The Orleans Audubon Society and other groups are collecting population data needed to support federal listing.
GPS-Satellite Tracking Project
One important conservation goal is to identify migration routes and wintering grounds used by the northern subspecies. Ornithologists from the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) and the Orleans Audubon Society (OAS) have captured adult kites and fitted them with extremely light-weight, state-of-the-art GPS-satellite transmitters.
Jennifer Coulson and Tom Coulson, OAS
Kenneth Meyer and Gina Kent, ARCI
Dean Demarest, Billy Brooks, and Jim Lyons, USFWS
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
If you are as excited as we are about the kite project and want to help, here are several ways that you can get involved:
1. Tell your favorite teacher about our kite tracking site.
2. Keep a look-out for Swallow-tailed Kites and report any sightings (details below).
3. ADOPT-a-KITE: Data retrieval for each tagged kite costs $100 per month or $1200 per year. Our project grant money will run out in May of 2013. You can help continue this project by adopting any of the kites for a month ($100) or longer by sending a check payable to "Orleans Audubon Society" and write "Adopt-a-Kite" on the memo line. Mail the check to: Michael Crago, OAS Treasurer, 801 Rue Dauphine, Ste. 304, Metairie, LA 70005.
Have you seen this bird?
Please report sightings of the Swallow-tailed Kite. Sightings of nests, roosts, kites carrying nest material or food, locations where kites are seen regularly, and sightings of more than one kite are of particular interest. Your sightings will help the Orleans Audubon Society study this rare bird of prey.
Date of sighting
Location (please be as specific as possible)
How many kites were observed?
Was there anything else of interest (e.g., carrying a snake)?
Your contact information
Report sightings in Louisiana and Mississippi to: