February 2020

Vol. 48, No. 1

Mississippi Kites of Southeastern New Hampshire

Stephen Mirick

Mississippi Kites. Photograph by the author.

The small town of Newmarket, New Hampshire, which lies about 14 miles north of the Massachusetts state line, became famous in the birding world in 1998 with a visit from a Little Egret that stayed for several weeks and entertained hundreds of birders from all across the country. Newmarket is also famous as the former residence of many noteworthy birders including Ben Griffith, Lauren Kras, Kurk Dorsey, Christopher Ciccone, and yours truly. But starting in the early 2000s, the town has become famous for new residents—Mississippi Kites.

The story of Mississippi Kites nesting in New Hampshire is a remarkable one that dates back to 2004. At that time, there had been only two single observer sightings ever for the state and both of those came from the 1980s (Keith and Fox 2013). There were no unambiguous state records, so the species was on the hypothetical list according to the New Hampshire Bird Records committee.

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