Mississippi Kites are graceful, beautiful raptors that appear over Missouri’s open landscape where they can be seen hunting diligently for insects and other small prey. Their graceful soaring is often described as buoyant and acrobatic. These kites migrate from South America to breed in Missouri and other central plains states and in the southern U.S. They will nest in just about any tree species, selecting an isolated copse of trees and shrubs or the shelter belt of trees separating two agricultural fields. They sometimes reuse old nests and may use abandoned squirrel nests. They are also known to nest in human-inhabited areas, like parks, golf courses, and other urban areas. Look for them over open woodland, savanna, grassland, pasture or oldfields. They usually hunt just above the treetops.
2. St. Louis: Creve Coeur Lake. They have been especially common hunting above the Little Creve Coeur Lake Ecological Area on the west side of the park.
3. Central Region: Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area. Try looking for them along the hiking trail on top of the bluffs overlooking the wetland.
4. Southwest: Lake Springfield. Eagle Point, a scenic bluff overlooking the lake, is a good place to spot them.
6. Northeast Region: Less common in this area, but try Union Ridge Conservation Area, in any open savanna or grassland.