Mississippi Kites are active now, and that
can spell trouble for Kansas golfers and hikers who approach their nest sites. Kites commonly
nests in city parks and golf courses, and they often swoop at passers-by to warn them
away from their young. Kites are large gray raptors that are beautiful to watch as they
swoop and dive catching and eating insects on the wing.
Their remarkable red eyes make them distinctively handsome, and few birds are as graceful in
the air. They live in Kansas only from May through September and migrate into central
South America during the winter. Kites nest in Kansas during June and July, and young
are now in the nests. Adult kites are busy feeding young, but they’ll swoop at you
if you happen near their nest trees. These attacks are seldom as scary as they seem.
The birds rarely make contact though their dives are convincing. Usually the birds veer
off or stay away if you keep eye contact with them. However, if you’re not watching, they
like to swoop from behind. I had to look hard this week to find a kite
that would dive at me face on. He made three passes, always pulling up a few feet above
my head. That’s what you can expect if you stroll near a kite nest. You can stay clear,
or ignore the bluff and enjoy the show. It’s all part of a Kansas summer.
I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.