THE BLACK-WINGED KITES AT THEIR NEST CONTINUEDPosted on the 8th August 2019
(Steve Peck continues with his remarkable observations of the Black-winged Kites at their nest. Keep in mind that previous reports can be studied elsewhere on this website. – Ed)
Black-winged Kites – part 5
Some interesting behaviour has been observed over the last few days (1-2 August) …
Firstly on the 1st we had a fantastic sighting of the male kite bringing the female a meal, although no sounds were heard as he approached she suddenly exploded off the nest and met him in mid-air where the mouse was transferred, talon to talons!
The female then went to her usual branch, defecated, and proceeded to eat the mouse. The male went to the nest, looked but left soon afterwards, going to sit not far from his mate.
The female soon went back to the nest and settled down, interestingly as we moved away we disturbed one of the Spotted Eagle Owls which flew from its hidden position in the trees to another spot closer to the nest….instantly the male started to scream at the owl and flew quickly after it, although stopping short of attacking it, he continued to scream and fly around the owl until it settled down on a branch, at which stage the male then flew back to his spot on the adjacent tree and watched the owl intently.
Today (2nd) again strange behaviour has been noted…upon arrival at the site I saw the male flying away from the nest area and swooping low over the field (usually a sign he is hunting or stick gathering).
The female was found on the nest, until I observed the male returning with a large stick to the nest, immediately he landed on the nest the female took off and surprisingly she was carrying a mouse in her talons. She alighted on the nearby tree and sat with the kill making no effort to eat it. The male was seen placing the stick in the nest for about 10mins and all this time the female sat with her uneaten kill.
Then the male left the nest and only then did the female started to eat the kill (best observations on this action seem to reveals the mouse had already been half eaten before she left the nest with it!)
Once finishing the meal she immediately dropped into the branches and collected a twig for herself and took it back to the nest, where she settled down and left the male in his nearby tree. He then continued to sit and watch and preen.
Also despite my best efforts today I could find no sign of the owls either….
|Male with stick to nest|
|Female leaving nest with mouse|
|Female sitting with mouse not touching it|
|Female finally eating|
|Female back on nest placing her stick in position|
Black-winged Kites part 6
On Saturday 3rd August I managed an hour with the kites, and went through a host of emotions!
When I got there the male was far away on the telephone lines (600m) from the nest, not unusual and normally a sign he is hunting.
The female on the other hand was sitting out of the nest, just above it and constantly looking into it…..then she just started to preen herself. This went on for over an hour….I was really concerned that she had abandoned the nest (and eggs) she showed no signs of wanting to go back onto the nest at all, and an hour is a long time, in these weather conditions to be off the nest.
I was frantactily searching for the owls, maybe they had finally scared her off, but no yet again I couldn’t spot them in the trees.
So I was getting really down when suddenly I spotted the male launch off his wire and swoop low over the fynbos with purpose and then dive straight into it out of sight….immediately he was out and coming back low to the nest, tracking him I could see he had a kill in his talons, the female who had been perch high on the tree suddenly emitted a loud call and flew straight out to meet him …
About 70m from me and about 10m from the ground they flew together and I watched in awe as the female came from under the male took the mouse out of this talons in mid-air and dropped away…..what a sighting!
She immediately flew straight back to the nest with the mouse (not onto her usual tree) landed, and started to devour it on the side of the nest.
Unfortunately it was to difficult to see if she was feeding chicks or just herself…..I suspect that it is still a little early for chicks yet though.
Upon finishing the mouse she settled back nicely onto the nest. I was very relieved that things seemed back to normal now…
Today (6th) I checked in the morning and found her thankfully sitting hard on the nest with the male very close by, and all he did in the 40mins observations was bring yet another stick to her.
So we wait to see what develops…
|Female above nest preening|
|Female on high point scanning|
|Female taking mouse from male in midair , female on the bottom in all shots. (1st image)|
|Female taking mouse from male in midair , female on the bottom in all shots. (Last image)|
|Female flying straight back to nest with mouse|
|Female landing on nest|
|Female on nest eating kill, male above.|