We stopped briefly this morning at the Black-shouldered Kite nest in a pine on a now disused piece of road.
The last few times we’ve visited it was apparent that the young birds were getting close to fledging, however as it turns out we were pretty much completely wrong.
When we arrived they were already sitting high up on the tree and one moved from one branch to another with a skill of a seasoned flyer.
And not long after two of them took to the air and circled about the paddock around the tree, eventually returned and settled in.
A third one came by just as we were leaving so it must have been resting in a tree further down the road.
On return the young kite had to run the gauntlet with an enraged Australian Magpie. Unfortunately it happened all so fast and so close in that we didn’t get much of a result, and to it credit the young kite was easily able to avoid the attack. Which further shows they have been airborne a few days at least.
The female turned up and spent quite a bit of time ‘tail flicking’, which I’ve always taken as either a pair-bonding or a territory maintenance movement. Given a second pair of Kites have a nest somewhere further down the main road, it might be safe to assume she was giving warning that her young were out and about and not to be messed with.
Here are a few from the excursions around the nest.
Young Kite defending against the Magpie attack. The feathers might look out of control, but I suspect it has set up the feathers to give it both control and the ability to avoid the magpie. A good indication they have been out for a few days.