Wednesday, August 3, 2011

mystery bird

mystery bird by vickylw
mystery bird, a photo by vickylw on Flickr.

I have long wondered why birds won't come to my bird feeders. This may be the reason why . . .

This mystery bird and his mate are living in a huge nest at the top of our old elm tree. Near as I can guess, it may be a small falcon or a Mississippi kite. But my bird book doesn't list the kite as a bird-eater --- this bird and his mate definitely eat other birds, the remains of which I find scattered on the ground now and then.

There is at least one baby in the nest. Its cries remind me of hawks but this bird is smaller. Any guesses?


  1. wow, how curious,,I hope you have luck identifying this bird..Its sad that they've eaten the other birds but thats life,, very clever nesting near the bird feeder.We have had a bird eating our chickadees, we think it was called a strike,, not certain,, but it killed a few and when we actually saw it happen it was very unsettling,, birds must eat but providing them such easy prey was a little upsetting,,

  2. I find predator birds quite beautiful, though I miss having smaller birds around. The baby's cry is so lonely sounding.

    We still have sparrows all over our building, nesting in the crevices. They aren't intimidated at all --- someone told me they would swarm the larger birds in mass.

  3. I'd sure lean towards the Mississippi Kite. Just because your bird book doesn't mention bird eating behavior doesn't mean they won't do it.

    Birds of prey are very opportunistic, especially when rearing young. If a small bird appears to be an easy target I believe a kite would take it. Just to much protein to pass up.

    That's my two cents. Love your blog. Keep up the great work!

  4. I'm thinking it looks more like the Mississippi kite as well --- I just wasn't sure about the eating habits. Whatever it is, it's a beautiful bird, especially when soaring high above our building.

    A guy in Wichita told me he has seen quite a lot of these birds show up in the area in the past few years, though they are not native here.

  5. Your sketch definitly has the giz of a kite. Is the breast plain or marked? ... possibly a sharp-shinned hawk or coopers hawk if the adult's breast is reddish and barred.

  6. I don't own a pair of binoculars and can't get a close-up view, so I haven't been able to tell if the breast has any markings.

    I see these birds only as they perch very high up on some utility wires or soaring much higher in the sky. And just their tails sticking out when in the nest. Wish I could get a closer view.


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