White tailed kite with open wings...3
White-tailed kites, Elanus leucurus, once ranged from Georgia to Florida, across the southern United States and northern Mexico, to California and Oregon. The population was decimated during the 1800s and early 1900s. The medium sized raptor was shot as an another "chicken hawk" and for sport. In the 1920s only a remnant population of approximately 70 pairs remained, and these were in an isolated area of central California. Protection by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, education, changes in farming practices, and introduction of the house mouse were all likely factors to the recovery of this species.