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Observations on the Mississippi Kite in Southweste

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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS

MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY -----------

Volume 12, No. 11, pp. 503-519

------------------------- October 25, 1963 -------------------------

Observations on the Mississippi Kite in Southwestern Kansas

BY

HENRY S. FITCH

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS LAWRENCE 1963

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS, MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, Henry S. Fitch, Theodore H. Eaton, Jr.

Volume 12, No. 11, pp. 503-519 Published October 25, 1963

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Lawrence, Kansas

PRINTED BY JEAN M. NEIBARGER, STATE PRINTER TOPEKA. KANSAS 1963 [Union Logo] 29-7863

Observations on the Mississippi Kite in Southwestern Kansas

BY

HENRY S. FITCH

The Mississippi kite (_Ictinia mississippiensis_) is one of the common raptors of Kansas, occurring regularly and abundantly in summer in that part of the state south of the Arkansas River. In 1961, in an attempt to find out more about the ecology of the species in Kansas, I made several trips to parts of the state where kites could be found in numbers, notably to Meade County State Park in the southwestern part of the state, 71/2 miles south and five miles west of Meade. Little has been written regarding the species in this extreme northwestern part of its breeding range, where it thrives under ecological conditions much different from those that prevail elsewhere in its range. Also, the social behavior and food habits have been given relatively little attention.

In my field study I was helped by my son, John H. Fitch, who climbed to many kite nests and spent many hours observing in the field. My daughter, Alice V. Fitch, likewise aided me by keeping nests under surveillance. Dr. Claude W. Hibbard of the University of Michigan and Mr. Harry Smith, superintendent of Meade State Park, also kindly provided much useful information concerning the history of the colony of Mississippi kites at the Park. Mr. William N. Berg analyzed pellets, and Dr. George W. Byers kindly checked many of the identifications, and provided generic and specific determinations for some of the insects.


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