game refuge on the main lake where several thousand duoka, mostly Pintails,
massed on the far shore. Hundreds of ducks flew over including Blue-
winged Teal, Fulvous Tree Dueks, and Mallards. We also saw a Reddish Egret
and a Spoonbill fly over along with several hawks circling too high for
identification. At the other lake we added Wood Ibis (100), about 50 Black-
crowned Night Herons, White-faced Glossy Ibis, and several more dueks of
the species mentioned earlier.
Just outside Longenbaugh on a barbed-wire fence I spotted another
flycatcher-like bird whieh turned out to be a Vermilion Flycatcher (a
beautiful male). Other birds seen included several Marsh Hawks, a Swainson's
Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk, an Empidonax Flycatcher, Red-shouldered Hawk, and
many Sparrow Hawks„
We returned to Ronald's house about 1:15 p.m. with a total of 56
species on our list.
THE ETORGLADE KITE - (Alexander Sprunt, Jr.)
From"*0ur Endangered Wildlife", a publication of the National Wildlife
This unique American bird of prey faces disaster. Now reduced to a
population level that may be not much more than that of the famous Whooping
Crane, its continued existence appears just as problematical. But while
many thousands of people know about the crane, only a small minority are
aware of the kite's predicament. Beautiful, graceful and entirely innocuous, it Is destined to become a bird of the past unless conservationists
provide vigorous protection.
Four pertinent facts must be recognized:
1. It has the most highly specialized food habits of any bird in
2. It now occupies one of the most, If not the most, restricted
range of any American bird north of Mexico,
3. It Is the third rarest bird of the United States,
4. It is probably the most susceptible to quick extirpation.
Before touching on any of the above, what does this kite look like?
Superficially, it bears a rather strong resemblance to the well-known Marsh
Hawk, but any studied observation will reveal definite differences. The
adult male is from 16 to 18 inches in length with a wing-spread of about 44
inches. The head, foreback and wing coverts are deep mouse-gray, the
remainder of the body, wings and tail are blackish, the latter being
crossed by a wide white band near the base, conspicuous in flight and
visible from both above and below. The bill is long, slender and very
strongly hooked, the iris bright red.
The female Is dark brownish above, with much white marking on the head.
The underparts are pinkish-buff, broadly streaked with brown!sh-black. Th«
wings are very broad and the manner of flight, unlike that of the Marsh
Hawk's titling and veering, is perfectly level and deliberate.
Aside from its physical appearance, the outstanding characteristic of
this kite is the highly selective diet. It eats a single speoies of freshwater snail and nothing else. It is, therefore, confined to a fresh-water
habitat harboring this creature (Pomaeea ealiginosa) and cannot be expected
elsewhere. Within the United States it is found only in Florida and it has
not, to the writer's knowledge, ever been seen in any other part of the
country. It also occurs in Cuba, eastern Mexico, Central America, and a
close relative Is found in South America.
Although once fairly well distributed over Florida in suitable
localities, the Everglade Kite Is now reduced to a remnant because of
changes in its natural environment. Many marshes have been drained with
the consequent disappearance of the snail, followed almost at once by the
disappearance of the kite.
Its obvious hawk-like aspect has resulted in thoughtless gunners
killing it for no other reason than that. Its increasing rarity"has led
collectors to seek both skins and eggs. These three factors-have been
responsible for bringing it to its present low point.
Its continued survival and any increase will depend on broadened public
interest,- posting of the remaining habitat, a careful wateh on any project
dealingswith the raising or lowering of water levels which would affect thy