A project of Avian Research and Conservation Inst.
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Species: Swallow-tailed Kite
Life Stage: Adult
Release Date: 2012-06-18 00:00:00
Release Location: St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, USA
Last Location: 2013-03-26 11:46:36
In March of 2013 we noted a very unusual three-week series of large high-pressure systems that produced nearly continuous northerly winds from the southeastern U.S. to the northern Yucatan Peninsula, where the Swallow-tailed Kites stage before their challenging over-water flight back to the U.S. to breed. A few of the kites made it safely to the U.S. Gulf coast before this began, but most waited for the infrequent spells when the strongest headwinds briefly abated, only to encounter stronger, more persistent northerlies once over the Gulf. St. Marks and 2 of our other 13 GPS-tagged kites (two from Florida, one from South Carolina) did not survive because their lengthy, convoluted flight paths failed to reach the U.S. coast in time (we have learned that this species’ over-water limit is about four days).
For more background and details on our Swallow-tailed Kite research, please visit the ARCI website at www.arcinst.org and click on Research.