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The Binocular Advisor

Extreme Backyard Birding

The spectacular can be close at hand

Sheri Mooneyham went outside and noticed about five large, impressive birds flying around over her house. She wasn't sure what they were, so she snapped this picture and sent it to us at Birdwatching Dot Com, asking if we could identify it for her.

American Swallow-tailed Kite

Wow! American swallow-tailed kites!

This is one of the most spectacular birds of North America. It's a member of the hawk family, and it's a big bird. It swoops in the air, twisting and diving with grace and flourish. The kite uses its long tail to help steer, twisting it as the bird holds a curve or changes direction.

You can't see an American swallow-tailed kite just anywhere. It summers in the southeastern US, mostly along the Gulf Coast. It's usually found in Florida, which is where Sheri Mooneyham took the picture. You might also find them in Louisiana Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, or South Carolina. Look near water, such as swamps and marshes.

But even though this bird's range is limited, there are magnificent birds everywhere. If you're new to watching birds, you're discovering the fascination of the natural world.

Wherever we are, we can go outside and see birds.

And nice picture, Sheri Mooneyham!

Diane Porter— Diane Cooledge Porter  





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