After watching for a while, I noticed that some of the Kites had a stronger brown coloring.
It turns out there were two adults and three juveniles. The juveniles still had a lot of their brown coloring and did not venture out of the trees much.
On that first day, I noticed something odd about the adult shown in the first photo above. His (I do not know if it is a he or she) right eye (left on photo) looked peculiar.
I later caught more close-ups of this kite showing the extent of the damage to his eye and right wing. The second shot below, taken exactly two months later (by coincidence), clearly shows the extent of the damage to the right wing, right eyebrow, and right eye.
The kites have several dangerous activities that could have lead to those wounds.
Feeding the young
First, feeding the juveniles involves mid-air transfers of the prey from an adult to a juvenile. The adult in these pictures is not the one missing an eye. She (again I do not know the actual genders) is uninjured.
Scuffles with other raptors
Around Seymour Marine Discovery Center are several fields that host red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, northern harriers, american kestrel, american barn owl, sharp-shinned hawk, great horned owl, and these white-tailed kites. Occasionally, a great blue heron will hunt in the fields too. It truly is not an easy life for the small gophers, other rodents, and small prey birds.
The birds have roughly divided the fields between them. The red-shouldered hawk usually hunts around the Homeless Garden Project, the red-tailed hawk between the Seymour Discovery Center and Long Marine lab, and the Kites hunt in the rougher terrain with more brush plus the Northern-most field, which they share with the northern harriers. Due to these close proximities, occasional territorial fights break out.
This juvenile was, for example, enjoying a tasty rodent when the red-tailed flew into the area and caused the white-tailed kite to skedaddle, losing some of the meal. The juvenile then came back to buzz the red-tailed hawk that had landed near the kite’s perch. The kite then continued to chase the red-tailed from the area.
One of the adult white-tailed kites also pesters the northern harrier that likes to hunt in the same field.
Kites falling like a rock
The kites also, from time to time, like to grapple on to each other and plummet to the ground, breaking apart just in time to avoid impact.
The White-Tailed Kites
Overall the kites seem to be doing very well. Here’s a few more photos of them.
I managed to catch all three juveniles together in a bush. About 20 minutes before this I saw a Northern Harrier really lay in to one of the Kites. The kite was on the ground, maybe distracted by something, and the harrier swooped in and almost got it. They tousled and the Kite broke free. The kites then all joined up and stayed close together for a while, which is maybe why all three decided to hang out on this bush. I also saw the two adults in the area, so all five are still around.