One of the Sequoia trees in our backyard has become the favorite spotting perch for several local birds of prey. Everyday a hawk or other bird of prey sits at the top of this tree for several minutes, looking for a meal I suppose.

I believe this bird is a Black-Shouldered Kite. I was thrilled to get a photo of this bird in flight.

Kites are graceful birds of prey. They are falcon-shaped, with pointed wings. Their diet consists of large insects, reptiles, and rodents.

One of my blog readers, Ellis Myers, commented that “Your bird is a White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus). It was formerly known as Black-shouldered Kite, but the name was changed to avoid confusion with the Black-shouldered Kite of Australia.”

Thanks for the information, Ellis.

I was using my Western Birds – Peterson Field Guide, copyright 1990 to identify the bird. Your information is more up to date. The White-tailed Kite designation is in my Sibley Field Guide to Birds of  Western North America but the images show the kite as a pale gray bird. My bird had sparkling white plumage.