Results from 1998:
Observations of a total of 277 Swallow-tailed Kite individuals were submitted to this project in 1998. Detailed information appears in Appendix 1998.
- The three earliest dates were: March 4, 14 and 17.
- The three latest dates away from a Fall Hawk Watch were: 26, 28 and 30 of August.
- The three latest dates at a Fall Hawk Watch were: 19, 26 and 27 of September.
Results from 1999:
Observations of a total of 879 Swallow-tailed Kite individuals were submitted to this project in 1999. Detailed information appears in Appendix 1999.
- The three earliest dates were: March 4, 14 and 18.
- The three latest dates away from a Fall Hawk Watch were: September 18, 21, and 30.
- The three latest dates at a Fall Hawk Watch were: September 21, October 4, and 10.
- Only 7% of the birds reported were seen as they were perched, while the remaining 93% were seen in flight.
- Almost 6% of the birds reported were seen carrying items, either food or nest material.
- Observers averaged 2.1 kites per sighting (away from the hawk watches):
- 57% of sightings involved a single kite
- 19% of sightings involved two kites
- 8% of sightings involved three kites
- 13% of sightings involved four to ten kites
- 2% of the sightings were of groups of 10-18 individuals (a tight, circling flock of 19 kites was seen at Smith Point Hawk Watch in Chambers County by Dick Benoit)
Nesting Facts on Swallow-tailed Kites in Texas
- Nest building and initiation: starts in mid- to late March
- Egg-laying and incubation: may begin from late March through early May; incubation lasts 28-32 days
- Nestling period: from approximately late April to mid-June; lasts about 35 days from time of hatching to flying
- Fledging period: young leave nest in May or June, depending on date of initiation; no nests are expected to still be active after the first of July
Suggested Locations for Finding Swallow-tailed Kites in Texas
From late March to mid-August, go to the town of Liberty in Liberty County. Simply look up in the sky as you are driving through the city and residential areas. A park in northwestern Liberty called Lake Travis Park is a good place to look. Also, look behind the newspaper's office, The Vindicator. The Walmart parking lot is a good place to look as well since you have a nice peripheral view here. The Trinity River bottom between the towns of Liberty and Dayton on Highway 90 is a good place to go in July, but watch for traffic, as it is difficult to pull over. May through mid-August is probably the best time to visit this site.
From late March to mid-July, drive north on Highway 87 from IH-10 about 5-6 miles. Turn onto FM 3247 and search the skies. If this fails, return to Hwy. 87 and proceed further north. Keep your eyes glued to the skies.