Contemporary land-use practices have dramatically altered breeding habitats of birds of prey (Cramp, pp. 9-11 in World Conf. Birds of Prey, R. D. Chancellor, ed., ICPB, London, England, 1977). Some land uses appear to influence strongly both the nesting activity (White, Trans. North Am. Wild. Nat. Resour. Conf. 39:301-312, 1974) and abundance (Olendorff and Stoddart, pp. 44-48 in Management of Raptors, F. N. Jamerstrom, B. E. Harrel, and R. R. Olendorff, eds., Proc. Conf. Raptor Conserv. Tech., Raptor Rep. 2, Fort Collins, Colorado, 1974) of raptors.
The Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) is a locally common raptor of the south-central plains of North America. In the prairie grasslands of western Oklahoma and south-western Kansas, kites commonly nest in tree plantings designed as windbreaks, irrespective of windbreak width, age, or tree species compositions (Parker, Ph.D. Diss., Univ. Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 1974; Love and Knopf, Proc. Ann. Meet. For. Comm. Great Plains Agric. Counc. 30:69-77, 1978). Much of the potential nesting habitat within this region, however, is not used by kits (Parker and Ogden, Am. Birds 33:119-129, 1979). In this paper, we assess the potential influence of various land-use practices on windbreak selection by nesting Mississippi Kites.