Commentary: Be aware of Mississippi Kite presence on AAFB

  • Published
  • By Mr. Adam Kohler
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Safety Office

With the return of spring, Mississippi Kites will soon return to the area. These birds use the central and southern Great Plains during the spring and summer months as breeding grounds, before returning to warmer climates for the fall and winter.

While the birds primarily eat insects, their vigorous defense of their chicks makes them a serious safety concern for Airmen and families at Altus Air Force Base.

The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron and wing safety office have worked to reduce the attractiveness of trees for nesting around base. However people should still expect to see concentrations of kites throughout Windy Trails Golf Course, Wings of Freedom Park and base housing.

During the summer months when these birds are aggressive, people should remain vigilant, looking for the presence of kites and their nests in trees when moving around the installation.

If an individual gets close to a nest, kites may respond by dive-bombing the approaching individual. If an attack occurs, it is important to not panic and follow a few simple tips to safely resolve the situation. Do not run, try to continue to face the birds, raise your hands or an object above your head, and wear a head covering.

It is important to remember that these attacks are only to defend their young, and not every Mississippi Kite will attack.

Throughout the summer, young birds may be seen on the ground. Leave these alone, but if someone suspects one may be injured please report it to the wing safety office. People should also report locations of attacks as well.

To make reports or for more information, contact the wing safety office at (580) 481-7233.