Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Dinsmore & Silcock, "First Nesting Records for Mississippi Kite in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1995) 63(3).


Copyright 1995, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Mississippi Kites are regular visitors to Nebraska. Prior to 1974, there were four reports for the state (NBR 33:49. 1965), but it has occurred almost annually since then. Almost all reports are from the North Platte and Missouri River valleys, with concentrations of sightings at Fontenelle Forest in Sarpy County, near Aurora in Polk County, and, most recently, in Ogallala, Keith County. Of 39 dated reports, 12 were in May and 13 in September, suggesting spring overshoot migrants and fall dispersal. The first summer report was an adult at Shoemaker Island, Hall County on 10 July, 1983 (NBR 51:90). Several other reports are suggestive of breeding. A single bird was seen in Ogallala in 1992, and a territorial male was observed there in 1993 (Richard C. Rosche, pers. comm.).

On 6 August, 1994, we found at least 11 Mississippi Kites soaring over the north edge of Ogallala, especially in the vicinity of the hospital. The birds appeared to be foraging and captured several large insects, including a butterfly and a large locust. Our highest count was eight adults and three subadults. The large number of birds suggested that they were breeding nearby, and we watched individual birds in the hope that they might lead us to a nest. After less than 15 minutes of observations, a lone adult suddenly dropped from an elevation of several hundred feet and disappeared into a group of large trees in a nearby residential section of the town. We drove to the area and, at 3:50 p.m. MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), found a nest containing two nearly full-grown young. The nest was located 3540 feet above ground in the crotch of a large American elm. It consisted of a loose platform of small twigs, similar in size and shape to that of an American Crow (pers. obs.).