Photographic Essay: Dad’s Rules, or Dad Rules

The poor old male Black-shouldered Kite, in the this case, Bronson, has to put up with a lot as his young aeronauts learn the ways of Black-shouldered Kite.

He gets yelled at for more food, buffeted and bounced about the sky by his inept, but over-enthusiastic young and pushed from his perch if they decide to land near him, and do it rather inelegantly.

Yet, for the most part he seems to take it all with good grace, and just gets on with the job. Perhaps he sees it as part of the drama of doing business with the young birds.

However, there are several rules that he seems to have, and enforces.

One of the rules is that there should be no in-fighting among the young ones. Each will get a turn at food, or his attention.
Another relates to landing rights, and if one of the young should knock its sibling from the perch while landing then consequences are inevitable and he’ll step in.
Another rule seems to be if he is busy preparing for a hunt, then he will not be interrupted by one of the young landing nearby and calling at him.

His major, and most enforceable rule seems to be if the young ones in their enthusiasm and lack of skill decide to take to the air to defend against passing Kestrels, Falcons and Black Kites.
He will then herd the young one back out of the way, giving it a bit of  a clip for its troubles.
Then of course he has to go and defend against the now aggrieved foe.

His major method appears to be a clip on the back with his claws.  Because he can still outfly them, well at least at the beginning, it seems to be quite a successful method.

Here are a few instances

Never knock Dad off his perch. In this case the young one had managed to get a grip of one of his legs instead of the branch, and couldn’t let go.
As the young one tried to find a new perch, Bronson came it an gave it a clip on the back
Bronson pursuing the young one back to the nesting area.
Suitably chastised the young one headed for a rest at the nesting site

Bronson had landed hoping to have a top-up meal. In a sneak attack the young one managed to get a grip of the mouse and pulled him from the tower.
C’mon Dad, time for a feed. This is the eldest of the two females, and she obviously inherited her mother’s bossy gene.
She had given him either a peck or a push to move him on.

This young one had decided to land on the same top branch as its sibling. Not enough room for two, and the first one had to yield.
Within a few seconds Bronson had arrived and a quick clip on the back, you can see a feather flying, and the young one was forced off the branch
An angry Dad with the wings down.

Foolishly this young one decided to defend against a grown Nankeen Kestrel. The much more agile Kestrel was prepared to take the attack to the young one. Dad would have to set in.
Dad’s Rules
Now he has to hunt the young one away from the Kestrel.
And a good clip on the back will be its punishment. He then had see off the angry Kestrel.

5 thoughts on “Photographic Essay: Dad’s Rules, or Dad Rules

  1. A fabulous series of Dad doing the Dad thing. He always seemed to ‘take it in his stride’. I wonder what the kids are up to now. The image of the youngster pulling Bronson off the comms tower is incredible!


  2. An amazing set of captures David, and a wonderful descriptive story both in picture and word. You certainly have learnt much from the lives of these birds, and how they parallel with ours. Grace coupled with discipline are important for any healthy family development. These are aspects which I will highlight in my next book, and you have depicted so well here. A great post ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes that is a lovely thought and I wish, now, with hindsight that I had applied a bit more grace in the raising of our girls. We had lots of fun, not doubt, but somethings would be all the better for a little more insight. 😦

    We’ve been fortunate to witness about 10 nestings of these wonderful raptors and it is possible to detect similarities to their approach.


  4. Your observations of this Black-shouldered Kite family life are so valuable and insightful. The accompanying photos enhance the pleasure of reading. I usually have a quick read when the alert of your new posting arrives by e-mail but I prefer to come back and enjoy it at a more suitable time. I am about to continue. I’ve always liked thick books 😉


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