Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

November 2015 Swallow-tailed Kite Update

Who, what and where is "Day"?  by Ken Gunn

We’re Helping Science.

We have just been advised that the Swallow-tailed Kite, whose movements Sevas members and a few generous non-members, are paying to track, is a female named “Day”.  Avian Research and Conservation Institute, ARCI, name the birds after the area where they reside in summer and Day nests in the Daytona area.  You can go see her next summer!

Gina Kent, the ARCI representative we worked with on this project, will be our March speaker.  I expect she will explain their monitoring program as well as give us a great deal of information about the species so I will not try to pass on the bit I know about either.

I will tell you, relayed from Gina, that ANCI has tracked Day through four migrations south and three back north.  During that time, she has raised three clutches of two chicks each so is a productive member of avian society.  May her success continue.

Day’s travels can be followed at . There are three maps.  One shows the entire route with all trackings on it; a second shows the area where she is currently located and the third shows an animation of how she got there.  One can also sign up for periodic updates.

Looking at the animated map, it appears that she left Volusia County on or shortly after July 21 and made it across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula by August 1.  She rested there for about a week then headed south through Central America, I think up the Magdalena Valley of Colombia, passing near the city of Bogota, then down the eastern slopes of the Andes to the Upper Amazon.  On October 13 she had made her way to Mato Grosso state in Brazil and may be at her winter home.  Mato Grosso translates as big forest or big jungle but the area where she appears to be has been cleared and is either farmed or ranched.  There are also lakes and valleys with swift running rivers surrounded by bands of forest in the area so she may have chosen a quite varied habitat.

While at the website, I would suggest you look at some of the other seven Swallow-tailed Kite tracks and the travels of some of the other species followed – interesting stuff.