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The Citizen Scientist

Swallow-tailed Kite Survey

Tim Keyes (tim.keyes@dnr.ga.gov)
Nongame Conservation Section, Coastal Office

Thanks to all who reported sightings of swallow-tailed kites in 2005! We had one of our best years yet, with 39 kite nests and nest structures located, 13 fledglings and two adults fitted with radio transmitters, and infrared cameras installed at three nests.  The telemetry data we collect will add to our dataset and be used to estimate juvenile and adult survival, nest-site fidelity, age of first breeding, activity range size, and migration routes.  In addition, a radio-tagged Georgia bird was instrumental in locating an important pre-migration roost site in central Florida.  These sites can contain hundreds to thousands of kites and are critical as staging areas prior to the long journey over the Gulf and down to Brazil. Their preservation is critical to long-term swallow-tailed kite conservation.

In 2006, we are expanding our nest-searching efforts, in order to obtain a more accurate picture of swallow-tailed kite breeding distribution in Georgia.  The logistics of our previous research, investigating critical demographic questions, had geographically constrained our search efforts, but this year our goal is to survey the entire coastal plain.

YOU CAN HELP!  Kites have already been spotted in Georgia, and your sightings have been extremely helpful in contributing to the discovery of documented kite nests in the past.

Please report all swallow-tailed kites seen from now through early September with the Bird Trax.  You may register an account to submit sighting and access. This is available at http://www.gos.org/current-sightings-(ebird). If you do not have access to the online report form, you can report sightings directly to Tim Keyes at the address below -- via email (preferred), phone, or mail. All sightings locations will be included in DNR's kite database, and the information will be forwarded to the swallow-tailed kite field biologists for nesting or roosting follow-up searches. Please be specific about the location and if possible reference the page, grid letter and number, and position from the DeLorme Georgia Atlas and/or provide a latitude and longitude. For use in the database, we have to be able to locate the kite observation on a map, and assign latitude and longitude.  Happy birding!

Tim Keyes
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
One Conservation Way, Suite 310
Brunswick, Ga. 31520


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