The White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) was once a common raptor species in the southern United States. However, by the 1930s, the species was considered on the verge of extinction until the 1940s, when a trend towards recovery was apparent. These dramatic fluctuations may be related to changes in rodent prey base due to the conversion of native wetlands to agriculture. To investigate the effects of changes in habitat, land use practices, and prey base on kite populations, we collected tissue samples from kites, their prey, and vegetation at four different locations in California: Arcata, Coastal-Coniferous Forest; Davis, mixed Urban-Agricultural; Cosumnes, Mixed Wetland-Agriculture, and Santa Barbara, Coastal-Chaparral.
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Comparison of white-tailed kite food web dynamics among various habitats in California using stable isotope analysis