The Swallow-tailed Kite, a migratory raptor, is perhaps the most beautiful and graceful bird of prey. It is extremely maneuverable in flight, catching flying insects in flight and swooping low over trees, picking small prey like lizards, snakes, and frogs from the tree tops. I've often observed them grabbing a meal from the tree trop or right of the turfgrass surface and eating while in flight, no easy task I'm sure.

The Swallow-tailed Kite typically arrives to the islands in March, soars around all day in search of it's next meal and nests. Over the years there have been several breeding pairs of Swallow-tailed Kites documented on the islands. Keep a lookout for them soaring and nesting over swamps, marshes and rivers, which shouldn't be too difficult as Sanibel is comprised of much of this habitat.

The bright white underbelly with a contrasting beautiful black bordering the wings and a split forked tail make the Swallow-tailed Kite an easy one to identify, even from a distance. They are a sign of summer here on the islands and truly a special bird to watch.