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Rare swallow-tailed kite spotted in Yarmouth County

Alix Arthur d’Entremont captured this shot of a swallow-tailed kite between Argyle and Belleville May 11. The bird is typically found in Florida and a few other areas of the Deep South.
Alix Arthur d’Entremont captured this shot of a swallow-tailed kite between Argyle and Belleville May 11. The bird is typically found in Florida and a few other areas of the Deep South.

YARMOUTH COUNTY - On May 11, birder Alix Arthur d’Entremont was returning from work on Highway 103, around 4:50 p.m., when an unmistakable shape caught his eye as it soared about 150 feet above the traffic.

He hit his brakes and pulled onto the shoulder, leaving long tracks in the gravel.

Flinging his door open, he grabbed his camera and snapped a few shots of the swallow-tailed kite before it flew off in the east.

Shaking with excitement, he called several birder friends and posted his find to the Nova Scotia Bird Society Facebook Page and the Nova Scotia Rare Bird Alert.

The rare find was seen again shortly after near the Crowelltown Road.

The bird, a swallow-tailed kite, is referred to as “the coolest bird on the planet” on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. With its deeply forked tail and bold black-and-white plumage, it’s unmistakable. Soaring with barely a wing beat, it flicks and rotates its tail to perform a tight turn in an instant when necessary.

Its food includes small vertebrates like frogs, lizards, snakes and stinging insects. They’ve been spotted returning to their nests with whole wasp nests, eating the larvae and adding the insect’s nest to their own nest.

The birds breed in the swamps, lowland forests and marshes of the southeastern United States, primarily in Florida and South Carolina, so you can understand d’Entremont’s amazement at finding this wanderer in this region.

The first record of swallow-tailed kite in Nova Scotia was one found barely alive that soon died at the family home of Adelbert Wilson, in August 1905 in Lower East Pubnico, only about 25 kilometres from the most recent sighting. There have been 10 sightings since then, with d’Entremont’s recorded as the 11th.

“It was a pretty exciting bird for Nova Scotia,” said d’Entremont.

Alix Arthur d’Entremont captured this shot of a swallow-tailed kite between Argyle and Belleville May 11. The bird is typically found in Florida and a few other areas of the Deep South.

Alix d”Entremont’s blog  

Birding & Exploring in Nova Scotia  

 

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