Saturday, February 27, 2021

Seeking the White-tailed Kite

We saw our first White-tailed Kite while camping at Dos Reis County Park in Central California in 2009. In the following years we continued to observe them in California and then in Oregon in Elkton while we lived there. Our only sightings in the Willamette Valley ware a brief glance at one in Ankeny NWR in 2013, an another one along Highway 99 south on Monmouth in 2017.  

On the 6th of this month White-tailed Kites were reported up the Willamina Creek watershed. Since then there has been a flurry of birders looking to add them to their checklists.  In fact we finally went in search of them last Tuesday the 23rd.  With the help of Rick Bennett, a birder on the scene, we were able to see a pair and get a poor photo.  That location was in Yamhill County,  and I have spent the rest of this week hoping to get an opportunity to find one in Polk County where we live.  Yesterday, I noticed on eBird that a person had reported one in Polk County in the Grand Ronde area. This morning we set out with that knowledge in hand and the location on Google Maps in eBird, hoping to find the Kite.  I drove us to the location and Jeanette spotted the bird with her binoculars. Nova, the kind land owner, came out to see if we needed help.  From her we learned that the Kites are around all year long, and that her family has been watching them for the past 20 years, nest and successfully raise their young. This is exciting information, because from all that I can find, nesting in the Willamette Valley is undocumented. The above photo was taken on Nova's property. You can see our bird list and photos here

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