By: Bartley Kives
Posted: 05/28/2014 1:00 AM
Manitoba birders are atwitter over a sighting of a bird of prey unseen in this province for 122 years.
On Thursday evening, a group of 13-year-old flag-football players, their coaches and several adult spectators watched a large black-and-white bird circle over Fraser's Grove Park in East Kildonan for almost an hour.
"It looked like a huge swallow, because it had a huge, forked tail. And then someone else said it looked like someone was flying a kite," said Kyle Kushnier, one of the spectators.
"He was doing these fairly tight circles. He was very, very nimble," added Donovan Toews, who briefly stopped the flag-football practice he was coaching in order to watch the bird. "It looked like he was hunting."
Later that evening, Kushnier consulted birding books and websites before concluding the creature in question was a swallow-tailed kite, a bird that breeds in South America and is a frequent visitor to the southeastern United States.
The species had not been seen in Manitoba since 1892.
"There's nothing else that looks remotely like it, never mind behaves like it," Kushnier said.