The Washita National Wildlife Refuge wants to pass on information about Mississippi kites, gray hawks that are slightly smaller than a crow.
Kites can be very protective of their nests, and many people have experienced their well-known dive-bombing when they get too close to a nest.
These small raptors often nest in western and central Oklahoma towns and the refuge has been getting numerous reports of people finding the fledling birds in places such as Clinton and Weatherford.
Residents in Edmond also have been finding young kites.
As the summer comes to a close, the young kites that were born this season are learning to fly.
They leave their nests, and often hop around on the ground flapping their wings in an effort to get airborne. It can take several days for a juvenile kite to learn how to fly.
There have been many reports of these birds being found by concerned citizens who want to help them.
If you find a young kite, the best thing to do is to leave it where you find it. Try to keep dogs and cats away to avoid injuring the bird.
If it is in a street and can be caught safely, carefully move the bird to a nearby yard or alley.
Don’t try to help a young kite learn to fly by throwing it in the air – this could injure the bird.
If the kite has an obvious injury, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can be contacted to take the bird for treatment.
If there is no injury, it is very important to leave the kite where it is so that the parents can continue to bring food.
The Mississippi kites will be migrating to the tropics soon, and the young will need to fly with their families to find their way to their winter home.