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Marsh Musings
Bombs Away!!!
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The Mississippi Kites are here! These beautiful birds get a lot of bad press and pressure because they are one of the most territorial birds in our area. Their big mistake is that they assume humans are a threat to their nests or kids. They dive bomb people with a lot of energy and actually will touch a hat or someone’s hair or scalp when they ride by on a bike or walk in the area. They have a penetrating call when they attack and scare us to death. The game wardens and I get lots of these calls from our friends. When the babies leave the nest, they may land on the ground and have to learn to fly from there. That is a very dangerous time for these youngsters, because house cats and other predators can easily access them before they get their wings and get to a tree. I had a call last year from a concerned family that found one of the babies in the yard. The parents will go ahead and feed these kids on the ground until they develop enough wing power to get to a bush or tree where they are safe. Most of the fatalities in this species happen in this fashion. Of course, some of the people victims of the aerial attack assume the birds are evil with bad intent and kill them. They are one of the most magnificent raptors and have flying skills that are amazing. Today, there are 3 or 4 families of these birds living close to the cemetery in Great Bend. I think the nests are just south of Broadway. They hang out in that area and are fun to watch. This is the time to see them at their best.
The Bottoms are just fabulous! I have a contact out there for the summer. My friend, Hagen, is working with Karl and the crew for the summer. He is a junior at K-State and is majoring in wildlife management and he is learning and working with the best in the business. He has seen the snow geese and the white fronts and reports the mosquito season is vigorous and voluminous. The migration is slowing. The roads are good, no flooding or concerns—it is safe and beautiful to be out and about. He will see and report any unusual critters or birds.
Be very careful on the roads right now. The snapping turtles are moving to either breed or reposition after the rains. I have moved several off the roads. Be careful doing that—they resent anyone sneaking up behind them and snap with lots of enthusiasm. Please be careful and move them safely off the road if you see one. These are geriatric magnificent historical ancient critters and deserve our care and protection. They haven’t learned what car tires can do to them, so the responsibility is ours. They will also pee on you with gusto, so don’t get too close...
There are lots of babies of several species in the marsh now—get your mosquito sprays and see what is moving!