Photographic-Essay: Landing Right(s)

As the young local Black-shouldered Kites have continued to grow, they reached the point where all the necessary training had ended, and they needed to take a leap-of-faith and step off the trees and taste the thrill of flight.

It is interesting to watch how they tackle this major step, and I’ve often wondered if there isn’t some internal brain function that kind of switches on the ‘Let’s Go’ signal, and they finally ease their grip on branch or leaf, and suddenly find themselves free.


All the training does not prepare them for the next event.


With no aeronautical skills to speak of, they resort to a simple, crash into the leaves at the top of the tree. Surprisingly, they are not very heavy, and the whole momentum thing doesn’t seem to harm them in anyway.  After a little they even begin to figure out how to slow things down a bit, and sort of just ‘lob’ into the leaves.

Within a couple of days, they have most of the skills for landing on branches, and soon they can practice high-speed manoeuvres and swing in on just about any branch from any angle.

So here is a week or so’s worth of flight and landing shots.  They are but a smallish collection as we’ve had a few good days with them over the past week.

I’ve also begun to make some Shared Photos Albums on Lightroom Web.

Here is the address for this current set.

I’m thinking in future to put the bulk of the story pictures there, and then insert a link in the weblog. This means I can share a few more of the event without filling up  the page here on WordPress.

Hope it works for you. Feedback welcome.

Before you can fly you must stretch the wings and build up the muscles. Not easy when you siblings won’t give you any room.
EHHHH yaaaa!
Help!!! Look out here I come
No speed control, and not much finesse.
Error of comedy. The top one had landed successfully, its sibling wants part of the action. But landing on a vertical branch offers new challenges
Ok, locked on, now to fold up the sails, trying not to knock off the other bird
Simply not enough room for both to balance, the first bird yields the space.
This one missed the branch and tumbled through the gap.
Balance, balance, balance, hold tight, balance. I think I can do it.
Full on hit the leaves, and get close to the other bird
It couldn’t get a grip and nearly knocked the other bird from its precarious perch.
Long distance shot. The little bird had wanted to get close to Dad, but knocked him from the stick, unfortunately it grabbed his foot as a landing spot. The big fella was not happy.
Rocking back and forward trying to right the body angle.
Trying to land on the top of close comms tower.
Up, Up, Up, but.
It ran out of lift before it brushed off speed and hit the tower sideways
Two weeks on the wing, and the smallest of targets are achievable.

6 thoughts on “Photographic-Essay: Landing Right(s)

  1. A superb series of images, David! It has been fascinating watching them learn the skills, especially landing! The elder chick today was onto branches and the top of a power pole with ease. Seemed it was having fun with the Maggie! It is a very ‘agile’ flyer, and that makes it interesting to lock on and track. Great to see it take a mouse on its own, although not the spot, dive, take approach yet. More of a spot, get on the ground, then take.


  2. Love this set, David. Huge smile on my face. Wonderful photography. In some shots it almost looks like they’re going to stick their tongues out to help balance.. they’re concentrating so hard!


  3. Stunning captures David. It is almost like looking at an oil painting the way you have captured their facial expressions. So amusing to see how they make their inaugural flight, having had no experience, so much like watching a toddler walk for the first time, or ride a bike. First Flight of the Kite, an interesting book concept when told from the kite’s perspective, how it deals with the concept of doing something it has never done before, and only watched it’s parent accomplish. That leap-of-faith followed by initial hardships and some failures but later followed by success and its ultimate rewards. Such is the story of many great inventors and innovators from our past. Great post David !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, beaut thoughts.
      I’ve seen quite a number of young raptors over the years make that first leap. They spend quite a bit of apprehensive (if birds are such), will I, won’t I, will I, until in the end all the forces of the universe line up and the bird is in the air.
      You’re right its a bit like learning to ride a bike, rockclimb or bungyjump. But then as humans we can live without mastering that skill, to a bird, its life or death.
      Learning to walk I don’t think is the same, as we as little tackers don’t care if we fall, we just get up and go again. No small kid sits and sulks, and says, “Well that doesn’t work”, and not try again.
      The bird has no options. It has gotta work. 🙂
      More to come in the next few day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful series of shots David. I love the crash landings, and the struggles to balance once on a branch. It’s amazing they don’t damage their wings, the way they crash into the treetop, but I suppose it’s just leaves and twigs up there, so not too dangerous.


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