There is one group of birds that are showing sizable gains overall however; the raptors. Apparently, this group is an adaptable bunch, as evidenced by the numbers of red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, red-tailed hawks, and Cooper’s hawks that have increasingly moved into residential and uptown areas to nest and live out their lives.
In the last decade a special raptor has moved into Mecklenburg County in small numbers as a breeder, often choosing large trees in south Charlotte neighborhoods. It’s the Mississippi kite, a rapidly increasing species moving north from the southern United States.
Kites are beautiful, graceful birds. Mississippi kites catch their prey of large flying insects on the wing and devour them on the wing. Recent reports from Olde Providence Elementary School describe these mid-sized raptors as gracefully skimming over the treetops capturing cicadas and dragonflies. If you are resident in that area, or somewhere in south Charlotte you may be seeing them.
They are smaller and less bulky than the very common red-shouldered hawks that live in the same areas, and much more graceful. I have looked in the Olde Providence area for them this year but I haven’t seen them yet. If you are seeing a bird you think may be a Mississippi kite, let me know. Even better try to get a photo (doesn’t have to be great) and send it to me.