Black Kites

To: "Bill Moorhead" <>, "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Black Kites
From: "Jon Wren" <>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2001 21:47:56 +1000
Gooday Bill and birding-ausser's,
I believe the Black Kite, Milvus migrans is supposed to be the commonest bird of prey in the World, recall reading that somewhere?
While living in the Cairns area I was always amazed at how quick a large gathering of these raptors would start to circle a cane paddock during its burning off prior to harvest. As soon as the smoke rose the birds seemed to come in from all directions I recorded 70+ on one occasion.
I have never observed them hunt live prey but believe the macropod massacre that occurs regularly on many Qld. roads is more than sufficient to meet the species food requirements.
I would consider the smoke of a fire to be sufficient evidence of a possible food source for the bird to investigate. Apart from this the highways, roads and rail tracks that criss cross our continent could certainly provide good visual guides for a raptor to follow in search of carrion.
Only my thoughts of the top of my head.
Jon Wren
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