Join BirdNote tomorrow, November 30th!
Illustrator David Sibley and actor H. Jon Benjamin will face off in the bird illustration battle of the century during BirdNote's Year-end Celebration and Auction!
Christopher Joe has invited people to witness the aerial acrobatics of Swallow-tailed Kites on his family’s farm in the Black Belt region of Alabama. The kites swoop after insects stirred up by hay-cutting. Christopher says he intends for Joe Farms to be a place where Black people, and all birdwatchers, can feel safe and connect with wildlife.
Hear more about the Joe Farm and Swallow-tailed Kites on the Threatened podcast.
A Safe Space for People and Kites
Adapted by Conor Gearin from the Threatened podcast episode by Ari Daniel and J. Nailah Avery
This is BirdNote.
Swallow-tailed Kites live in Central and South America year-round, but there’s a subspecies that migrates to the US in the summer. A hundred years ago, populations of these Swallow-tailed Kites nested in 21 states. Today, they breed in only a third of those states, and are listed as endangered, threatened, or of conservation concern in almost all of them, including in the Black Belt region of Alabama where Joe Farms is located.
Christopher Joe: We roughly have, uh, 200 acres with about six miles of trails.
Christopher Joe started organizing Birds and Nature tours on his family farm in 2019. Just a couple years before that, his dad Cornelius had noticed the Swallow-tailed Kites hunting as he worked the fields.
Cornelius: I was out cutting hay, and it’s always getting tiresome. And all of a sudden, some of those kites flew in. Oh, they were just dive-bombing the grasshoppers.
Now Christopher Joe and his family invite people to witness the hay-cuttings and kite feeding frenzies for themselves. Christopher says he intends for Joe Farms to be a place where Black people, and all birdwatchers, can feel safe and connect with wildlife.
Chris Joe: Nature in general is what a lot of people are... are looking for in places like this, to where they can come in and relax.
You can hear more about the Joe Farm and Swallow-tailed Kites on the Threatened podcast. Listen in your podcast app or at BirdNote.org. I’m Ari Daniel.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Digital Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Swallow-tailed Kite ML 349389441 recorded by S. B.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2021 BirdNote August 2021 Narrator: Ari Daniel
ID# STKI-02-2021-08-16 STKI-02