While Mississippi Kites are known to breed in Illinois, their Illinois breeding range is in far southwestern Illinois, 300 miles south of Rockford.
This year it looks like there's been a kite population explosion in Rockford (see following e-mail). I'm wondering if this is the farthest north breeding site for Mississippi Kites in the U.S.?
--- On Mon, 9/6/10, Larry Balch
From: Larry Balch
Subject: IBET Kite explosion in Rockford
Date: Monday, September 6, 2010, 9:19 PM
We can now confirm the existence of 4 juvenile kites in Rockford. We have found two nests, and know the approximate location of a third. We suspect the general location of yet another nest from which no young have yet been found.
On Monday, 29 August, 9 kites were seen by a knowledgeable couple, soaring in circles together above their large back yard. They and we have been seeing one or two kites in their yard for most of the summer.A brief summary of the juveniles we've found:
Kid 1: Found in nest 8/13 4 blocks north of Bloom School, and 2-3 blocks east. Not seen there 8/15. Found on ground 8/16. Seen walking/hopping across lawn 8/17. On the same day it apparently continued across the street to a bush where it spent the next 4 days. First seen flying, a distance of 50 feet, on 8/22. Not seen again until 8/28, 1400 feet from nest. Not seen since.
Kid 2: Found 9/1 about a block directly south of Bloom School. Easily distinguishable from Kid 2 by plumage differences. This bird was very active, often flying 100 to 150 feet between different perches. Fed by adults. Seen again late 9/3 very close to where originally seen. Not seen since.
Kid 3: Found afternoon of 9/5, about a block directly south of Bloom School. Again, easily distinguishable from both Kid 1 and Kid 2 by plumage differences. This bird apparently sat in exactly the same spot for the next 19-20 hours before dropping to a lower branch today. The intersection around which Kids 2 and 3 have been seen is about 550 feet from last year's nest.
Kid 4: Found around 9:30 this morning near its nest, well northeast of Bloom School, and about 580 feet from the nest of Kid 1. This bird was seen to fly about 15 feet later, without leaving the tree.Single birds were known to have fledged from known nests in both 2008 and 2009, both near Bloom School. We did not suspect the existence of other young birds in either year.
Further details will be posted at http://ncios.org/blog later tonight.