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.
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4 thoughts on “Black-shouldered Kites at Cumberland Homestead

  1. I managed to get a picture of one of the kites this morning too, perched high atop one of the trees just outside the top back-paddock gate. I had a good walk this morning, finding both of the dams I knew were there but had never walked to. Saw your little Getz there when I returned to my car.

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    1. G,day,

      This is cool, be interesting to know approximately what time you saw the Kite outside the fence-line. They were still inside, on Cumberland up to about 10:45am. If it was before that, then we can assume there is at least another bird.
      I don’t have any time to check it out this week, but must try and get a few more hours out there to see what is going on. Nice thing is that the Parks little green tractor has mown some good walking lanes among the tall grass.

      I also spent a lot of time down the bottom of the tree line nearest the airport, looking for those elusive Flame Robins.

      DJ

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    1. G,day,

      This is interesting, I was on the Cumberland Homestead paddocks just before 10 am, so about an hour after you passed through. (I had spent a lot of time down in the grey box area inside the gate, looking for and finding another Red-capped Male. (His name is Henny the pair are callled Henny and Penny). Weird, I know, but too much time in the bush does that to you.
      So they had moved from the upper part of the paddocks, down to the largest dead tree on the estate, and onto the rabbit kill. _ about a 1 minute flight for a fit Black-shouldered Kite.
      I do hope they stay in the area for a bit longer.

      DJ

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