Black-shouldered Kites at Cumberland Homestead

Took a walk out to Cumberland homestead ruins and paddocks out in the middle of the Backpaddock. I’ve been avoiding it of late as the grass is simply too long and too dense to make safe walking across the paddocks. What a change from the dry years when there wasn’t a blade of grass to be seen.

The Parks people have been playing with their little green tractor and other toys and have slashed quite a few of the open areas, and put in a few tracks across the larger paddocks.  At least it is possible to walk about.

I heard the “mhip mhip” cry of a Black-shouldered Kite and looked everywhere, sky, trees, treeline, fenceline, and didn’t at first see it.  It was on the ground among the mown grass intent on feeding.  To give me bonus points a second bird turned up, and its job was to harass the many Little Ravens in the  old trees.  Normally it is the ravens who have the task of harassing, but this kite not only put them off the trees, but was actively involved in attacking them in flight. For once the ravens were outgunned.  Not only can the kite turn on nothing, but its speed and agility allowed it to easily move the ravens on.  For once they didn’t even argue.

It returned to the first one and sat on the grass behind it, not that interested in the feast.  Patiently waiting and occasionally taking to the air to move another flock of ravens on. Eventually the well fed bird took to the trees, taking a piece of the feast with it. The second bird then turned up with a stick in its beak.  Last time I saw this sort of behaviour was in Spring at the treatment plant and a nest followed soon after.  Interesting.

When they moved on, I walked down the track and searched in the grass and found the remains of a rabbit.  This is the first time I have ever seen Black-shouldered Kites on carrion.  No doubt something bigger had made the kill and the leftovers made a feast for the pair.

Also found  the male of a pair of Red-caps and an early post  had a picture of the female of the pair.  So I think that I can now identify three territories, with probably a fourth one further down the creek-line.

Two Black-shoudered Kites on the remains of a rabbit. I have never seen them take carrion before, but this must have been quite a feast for them.