While doing the official bird count at Hawk Ridge today, Cory Ritter and I saw another Mississippi Kite. The bird was seen from the Main Overlook at about 11:15 am, but remained very high and out toward the lake, continuing on southward toward downtown Duluth. Although we were not seeing very many dragonflies at the time, the kite was actively hunting and eating dragonflies on its way south, and a few minutes later a Merlin was seen doing the same thing.
This is the second Mississippi Kite of the season at Hawk Ridge, the first also seen by Cory Ritter and myself on 27 August 2013. It seems likely that there could be additional Mississippi Kite sightings on the Ridge this fall. Last year there were five seen in Duluth, including three on the official hawk count. I believe that conditions have been good this season for vagrant kites because of the predominantly southerly winds (often quite strong) we had in late August, which is the peak of migration for this species to our south. A few appear to get blown north during these conditions, and then eventually reorient themselves back southward.

Karl Bardon
Duluth, MN

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