Berkshire Red kites in sausage heist-Friday 27/04/2012

[singlepic id=152 w=225 h=145 float= left]Red kites in Berkshire were reported to Thames Valley police for stealing sausages from a hot barbecue. The report came a day after a young woman told how a red kite swooped down and tried to fly off with her small Pomeranian pet dog. The two incidents in Wokingham were only a few miles apart.

Red kites were hunted nearly to extinction, but have made a vigorous comeback in recent years. They are now a common sight in many parts of the British countryside.

Red kites were re-introduced to the Chilterns in 1989. Experts think there are now between 700 and 1,000 breeding pairs of red kites in the Thames Valley area.

The birds feed mostly on carrion such as road kills, but with a 6ft wingspan and sharp talons, they are able to target other prey. Experts say, however, that is out of character for kites to go after live animals such as dogs or rabbits.

Bird lovers have been putting out kitchen leftovers and fresh meat for the kites, but experts say this should not be done as it makes the kites associate humans and houses with food.

Police have also heard of an adult Mallard duck being snatched off the water and last year a community college student was scratched by a kite which swooped down and tried to grab his lunch.

The small dog owner said the kite was about five times the size of the dog, which weighs just four and a half pounds. She said her shouting and stamping prevented the kite from grabbing the dog. The kite, however, made several other attempts as the pair dashed away and went after the dog again two days later on another outing.

Red kites all but died out in Britain because of persecution by gamekeepers in Victorian times but in the Elizabethan age they were one of the most common birds in the skies over London, scavenging on whatever they could find in the streets where people threw all kinds of offal and rotting meat.

6 comments to Berkshire Red kites in sausage heist-Friday 27/04/2012

  • Jimmy

    A fairly pathetic excuse to re-cycle some rubbish from the previous day

  • Mike Price

    I am having a similar problem here, everytime I leave peanuts or sunflower seeds outside the birds keep eating them, maybe some pathetic newspaper that can’t find any real news would like to run a feature on it.

  • John Miles

    Plenty of rubbish in London these days. That’s why they are so rare up here!

    • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

      John, I viewed a video today of up to 14 red kited flying over a small Berkshire housing estate, what a fantastic sight, no red grouse live there however. Then I read an RSPB report from Bowland that only two hen harriers had been spotted this week flying over red grouse moorland covering 850 sq. km. What a difference keepers and red grouse have on the dispersal and security of such species throughout our towns and countryside!

  • sh23363

    Would some sane person please like to give readers of this site some facts?
    E.g.

    How many pairs of kite are ACTUALLY resident in the area?

    How many cautions / prosecutions have been issued for wasting police time after reports of sausage eating kites?

    What flavour sausages do kites prefer?

    • Terry Pickford

      Replying to sh23363 request for information about the numbers of red kites. If I were you, I would not be too concerned about red kite numbers. Instead we should all be more concerned about the downward trend of hen harrier numbers on England’s uplands. Its now only a matter of time before the hen harrier becomes extinct on red grouse moors altogether… think of that before you have your next meal.