A careful examination of not just the kites but their locations in relation to pastures and migration routes makes it very clear that desert kites were specialized for specific types of animals. Before the 20th century the region was home to several different species of gazelle, wild asses, hartebeests, oryxes, ibexes, dorcas and onagers.
Some kites cleverly exploited low spots in the landscape to lure animals into the unseen killing pit.
"Indeed, the pit would have appeared to the animals in the funnel as an opening in the boundary walls of the kite through which they could flee," Avner reports.
Another sort of kite was found on steep slopes or ridges below a plateau or shoulder of a hill so that animals driven over the ridge would suddenly be confronted by the installation before and below them, Avner explained.
As for why the kites fell out of use, it's still a bit of a mystery, says Nadel.
"They were abandoned, in several south-Negev cases, by the beginning of the middle Bronze age," said Nadel. "This may suggest a climatic change and or a shift in subsistence strategies."