Letters to the Editor

Letters: How to attract Mississippi kites to your backyard

Mississippi kite photo from “A Field Guide To The Birds East Of The Rockies”
Mississippi kite photo from “A Field Guide To The Birds East Of The Rockies”

Mississippi kites were nearly wiped out in the ’50s by our nation’s DDT and mosquito fumigation craze. It took 50 years for them to make a comeback in the Southeast.

Mississippi kites eat dragonflies. And dragonflies eat mosquitoes.

My dogs love water, so I have kept those green turtle-shaped kiddy pools in my backyard for 20 years, along with rain buckets for them to drink out of.

Because I have the mosquitoes, I also have an annual abundance of dragonflies. And for 10 years now, I have had returning families of Mississippi kites nesting in the tall mature pines and oaks in my yard and neighborhood. Mississippi kites are even more beautiful, graceful and majestic (and larger) than the red-tail hawk. They rival our amazing Barred owls in their natural beauty, their feeding and mating dances and even their serene hawk-like chirps.

You too can have a family of Mississippi kites nesting in your trees. Simply place buckets, trays or even kiddie pools in your backyard, and before you know it, you will have the most amazing bird on the planet raising a family right in your yard.

The most amazing spectacle I have ever seen was 30 juvenile Mississippi kites doing incredible dives, swoons, 180-degree turns, loops and straight-up flights like military jets. They followed me and my dogs for two hours, performing acrobatic flights and mating and feeding dances just 20 feet above my head. Truly a God-given moment.

Toby Hoffman