ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Are you quick enough to catch a grasshopper? If so the Abilene Zoo is asking for donations. Jars, Boxes, really any container you can fit grasshoppers into, to feed the growing number of Mississippi kite’s they’re seeing in the Bird Rehabilitation Center.

“This year we’ve had 48 kites come in. Compared to last year we only had 17,” says Bird Rehabilitation Specialist Ryan King.

King says the increased in kites can be directly correlated to the increase in heat. Young birds fleeing the nest too soon due to high temperatures and sometimes getting hurt.

“100+ degree sun is just beating down on them, and they just cant cope with that, so they’re trying to get out of the nest. They might not be able to perch yet, so they end up falling from the nest,” says King.

And with nearly 50 birds under their care at a feeding cost of $17 per-bird per-week, demand may soon outpace supply. Which is where the community comes in. Zoo staff asking all who are willing to capture and bring in live Grasshoppers to help the growing birds.

“If you have some sort of butterfly type net – that would be great ideal I guess. But if you’re in a pinch, some sort a pillow case works…we’re just trying to get them up in weight. Hydrated. Flying around,” says King.

Kites usually migrate south around October. King says they’re working to make sure all kites are able to be released in time for the big flight.

“We have a good group right now that are outside that’s probably getting close to being released, then we’ll have another group and another group,” says King.

Donations can be taken to Gate C at the zoo, found at the back of the parking lot. Call (325)437-4683 to let staff know you’re there from 9am to 4pm. After hours you can leave a message at (325)437-4941.