Mississippi Kite2018-01-19T20:49:21-05:00

Home Forums Hunting Upland Game Mississippi Kite

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  • AvatarBrownItsDown
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    Has anyone ever seen a Mississippi Kite anywhere near Central Iowa? We kicked up an unknown raptor, bird hunting in Dallas County, at the end of December. I’ve been doing some research Online, and this is the best match I can find for what we saw.

    AvatarBrad Phillips
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    Had to look that up… Neat looking bird 😀

    Avatarkenhump
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    Very good. I’ve seen a few down south, but never this far north. Saw a nesting pair on Toledo Bend a few years ago.

    AvatarBrownItsDown
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    Quote by: kenhump

    Very good. I’ve seen a few down south, but never this far north. Saw a nesting pair on Toledo Bend a few years ago.

    I can’t guarantee that’s what we saw, but we kicked it up twice and it flew around us for minutes each time, so we got a really good look at it. The Mississippi Kite is the best match I was able to make for it from the glorious Interweb… I’d never seen another bird like it b4, and I didn’t know what a Mississippi Kite was until I started researching this. So, there’s a good possibility that I’ve misidentified it. Whatever it was, it looked neat and was a very unique flyer.

    AvatarCEBCEB
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    http://ebird.org/content/atlaswi/news/first-documented-mississippi-kite-nest-in-wisconsin/

    Had to look it up too and found this. Has a map on there of sightings in Iowa as well

    AvatarBrownItsDown
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    Quote by: CEBCEB

    http://ebird.org/content/atlaswi/news/first-documented-mississippi-kite-nest-in-wisconsin/

    Had to look it up too and found this. Has a map on there of sightings in Iowa as well

    Looks like there have been a few in Des Moines, and just West of Des Moines, so it wouldn’t be unheard of if I saw one out in Dallas County, which is just a touch further West. I’d sure like to see more of them in the future. Red tailed hawks are pretty drab, and dominate the skys out there. Been seeing a lot more Bald Eagles over the past few years, and they’re pretty cool to have around.

    Avatarktmurphy
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    Quote by: BrownItsDown

    Has anyone ever seen a Mississippi Kite anywhere near Central Iowa? We kicked up an unknown raptor, bird hunting in Dallas County, at the end of December. I’ve been doing some research Online, and this is the best match I can find for what we saw.

    Mississippi Kites do breed in Iowa (2 long-term sites are near the art center in Des Moines and in the large park in the central part of Ottumwa) however they are very migratory and are gone from the state currently (they really don’t like the cold). What you saw was likely a male Northern Harrier, used to be called a Marsh Hawk, they do look very similar in shape/color especially the nice gray front and the long pointed wings. They’re usually around large grasslands/marshes and you often see them hovering looking for a mouse/vole (the Royal Navy Harrier Jump Jet was named after them for the hovering ability). The other potential bird you saw is a Short-eared Owl, different coloration but similar overall structure and I’ve kicked up both of them bird hunting over the years. They are pretty sharp looking birds and a nice change from seeing the typical Red-tailed Hawk on every fourth telephone pole!

    AvatarBrownItsDown
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    Quote by: ktmurphy

    Quote by: BrownItsDown

    Has anyone ever seen a Mississippi Kite anywhere near Central Iowa? We kicked up an unknown raptor, bird hunting in Dallas County, at the end of December. I’ve been doing some research Online, and this is the best match I can find for what we saw.

    Mississippi Kites do breed in Iowa (2 long-term sites are near the art center in Des Moines and in the large park in the central part of Ottumwa) however they are very migratory and are gone from the state currently (they really don’t like the cold). What you saw was likely a male Northern Harrier, used to be called a Marsh Hawk, they do look very similar in shape/color especially the nice gray front and the long pointed wings. They’re usually around large grasslands/marshes and you often see them hovering looking for a mouse/vole (the Royal Navy Harrier Jump Jet was named after them for the hovering ability). The other potential bird you saw is a Short-eared Owl, different coloration but similar overall structure and I’ve kicked up both of them bird hunting over the years. They are pretty sharp looking birds and a nice change from seeing the typical Red-tailed Hawk on every fourth telephone pole!

    I think you nailed it with the male Northern Harrier ktmurphy! I know I saw a solid white patch at the base of the tail feathers, but the Mississippi Kite was the best match I was able to make, minus that white patch. Thanks for the info. The Northern Harrier is a better match for what we saw.

    AvatarFinns
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    Avatarcybball
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    My grandfather had a pair (Mississippi Kite) nesting in his yard about 10 years ago. He lived just east of the Des Moines airport. We knew it was really pretty rare so it was cool to watch them.

    AvatarBrownItsDown
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrLLINS4iNA

    This is a great video of a male Northern Harrier in flight. Unless there’s another bird that is nearly identical to this, THIS is what we saw. I’d sure like to see more in the years to come. It’s always cool to see something new in the outdoors. MS Kites look like pretty cool birds too.

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