Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Real Snowbirds

This morning I saw my first Swallowtail Kite of the 2005 season. These delicate hawks must be the most beautiful black and white bird on earth. Here on the Cracker Coast, the kites migrate down south to Central America for the winter and then return as Spring unfolds. This time of year you usually see solitary kites or maybe a couple pairing off, but later in the summer they will gather in huge flocks of a dozen or more graceful, swirling birds. Together they will spiral upwards on rising thermals...really beautiful.
The hummingbirds are back also. At least those who made it across hundreds of miles of open Gulf waters as they migrated north from Mexico and Central America. You have to wonder how something so tiny can fly such great distances over an unforgiving sea. Pretty amazing.
I've planted lots of native coral honeysuckle vine and trumpet creeper for them to feed on as they return and start the breeding cycle. It won't be long before the male hummers will be doing their loop-d-loop courtship displays as they compete for females. I can relate...I've had a few courtships that threw me for a loop also.

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