I looked up to see this:
A White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) was protesting being attacked by American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos).
I was excited to see a kite because I had seen ~10 kites about a week ago and it looked like they were en route to a roost site. I had looked for them again, without any luck.
Tonight was different. I watched at least 15 individuals (it was hard to keep track) fly into a roost site. Several were perched in a high tree nearby:
And then I could see individual kites gliding in from various locations. Sunset was ~7:15 p.m., so the light was dim, but there was a beautiful crescent moon near the roost site:
White-tailed Kites roost communally. According to the Birds of North America account:
- As many as 100 kites have been recorded at one roost site, but more often there are 10-40.
- The kites approach the roost site individually, within ~1 hour of sunset.
- The roost sites are sensitive to human disturbance.
- Interestingly, there are a lot of "unknowns" about roost sites — it is not known if the same roost sites are used repeatedly, how the roost sites are selected, or what function they serve.
One White-tailed Kite is beautiful enough, never mind dozens coming into roost!