Once a Fan, This Week, Not-So-Much

This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on May 27, 2011 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com/.  Click the date to view reader comments and find working links to other stories.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Swallowtail Kite
I have a love/hate relationship with the Swallowtail Kite

They gracefully soar through the air and rarely do you see the flap of the wings. They appear able to move around on unseen air currents. I relish their beauty against bright blue skies. They snag the high-flying insects, eating “on the wing” without making a stop. It is a hawk commonly called the Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus).

Yes, they are beautiful, and most times I do love to see them around my place, but there are a few things about them I don’t like. For one, they eat lizards and not the non-native brown ones that stick close to the ground. Unfortunately, they grab the lizards from high in the trees, which means they eat our native Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis). I like our native anoles; they are fun and entertaining.

Green anole, a Florida native, relaxes on the fence
Green anole, a Florida native, relaxes on the fence

Second, they eat dragonflies, again a species I find beautiful and entertaining. Ok, I know all about the natural food chain, I just wish the Kites would stick to the crickets, beetles and cicadas or add something to the menu that I like less, for instance, love bugs!

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

Third, hawks are known to shop around for bird nestlings and that why I’m not too fond of any hawks this week. I had 4 mockingbirds fledge this past week and I did find one who had met its demise since jumping from the nest. When it was found, I was listening to the mockingbird parents chasing after a red-shouldered hawk, so apparently the culprit was caught in the act.

Fledge Day! Note: 4 healthy bluebirds fledged on Monday, as I predicted
Fledge Day! Note: 4 healthy bluebirds fledged on Monday, as I predicted

Sunday as I watched the graceful aerobatics of the Kite, in my mind I knew what it was up to. My bluebirds were ready to fledge, probably on Monday. I also saw a brown thrasher sneaking some food into the palmetto scrub under my neighbor’s Dahoon. That must mean there are more babies out there. And the Kite, with all its beauty and grace, seems to have zeroed in on my little piece of bird-nesting heaven.

I'm standing here, don't be looking for my babies!
I’m standing here, don’t be looking for my babies!

I have come to accept the things I don’t like about nature…it is nature, after all and some things in life are just hard facts that must be handled. I promise to go back to loving the beautiful black-on-white of this majestic raptor, but not until after I see my four baby bluebirds successfully fledge and grow up.

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