It’s a boy! I was excited to hear the news from researcher Gina Kent when she got the results of the breast-feather DNA lab test determining the sex of “our” swallow-tailed kite. I have to say, I was secretly hoping for a girl but am glad he is healthy, and hopefully ready for the trip to South America (and back to the refuge next spring)!
Here is a link to a story about the tagging of our Kite, in case you missed it earlier on our website, http://www.swallow-tailedkites.org/2019/08/the-swallow-tailed-kite-class-of-2019.html. Gina and the team from Gainesville’s Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) tagged “Suwannee” with a GPS tracking device last May, with major support by the Friends of LSNWR and funding by a grant from the National Audubon Society. The ARCI Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ARCInst/) updates the information on the birds' locations weekly.
The state-of-the-art GSM transmitter works off cell-phone towers along his journey, downloading data several times a day as the bird passes within range. If no towers are present, the data is stored and then retrieved when signal becomes available. Suwannee is one of 16 birds being monitored as they migrate to their wintering grounds in Brazil and Bolivia. After spending the summer months around the refuge and agricultural fields around Chiefland, Suwannee headed south the first week of August.