Black Kites are associated by many with the far north. In recent years they have been seen locally in larger numbers. They have been present here for some years, with small numbers being seen at Eynesbury, Pinkerton Forest & along the Werribee River. However lately there seems to have been a large influx of Black Kites locally.
At a farewell function for Frances Overmars in Pinkerton Forest in late March a large number of Black Kites were noticed gathering overhead. At one side there were about 30 or so Black Kites circling overhead. The birdwatchers from Birdlife Australia were quite excited, distracted by the sight of so many of these raptors circling overhead, just above tree canopy height. As the farewell function was underway they were perching in the trees surrounding the shed, watching us ominously. They definitely have a gloomy & ominous aspect when they gather in numbers, watching. At other times there seem to be 50-60 birds circling over Pinkerton Forest
They almost seem attracted to people. As scavengers perhaps they associate us with rubbish? Or perhaps they hope that we will disturb small animals for them to eat.
Despite the fears of some local people that they may attack their pets, especially small dogs; they have relatively small looking bills & talons that would not appear to give them the capacity to attack anything much larger than a rat! Perhaps their lack of fear of us & their size, as well as their habit of circling very close overhead makes then appear threatening.
They seem to show an interest in livestock, circling over the animals & occasionally swooping to the ground close by them. Perhaps they are hunting small animal like grasshoppers or mice flush up by the grazing sheep & cattle.