First Cumbrian Red Kite chicks since 1860 fledge this week in Cumbria

We are proud to announce the first brood of 3 Red Kites have this week fledged from a nest near Coniston, Cumbria. As far as we are aware the last time a pair of Red Kites produced chicks in the county was 154 years ago in the Eden valley near Armathwaite.

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Three batches of thirty Red Kite chicks were reintroduced over three years in Cumbria at a secret location in the Grizedale Forest. The last batch were released in August 2012. Disappointingly a number of these birds disappeared within the first two years following reintroduction.

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Red Kites chicks in their release pens at Grizedale.

The scientists at the Grizedale Forest centre will be delighted at this landmark event. We just hope this is the beginning of more successful nests in the county. The Forestry will be making an official announcement in the next day or so.

The birds were released at Grizedale forest in south Cumbria by the Forestry Commission, which is spearheaded the three-year red kite reintroduction project. Red kites were successfully reintroduced in batches of thirty birds in the Lake District in the summer beginning in 2010, with the last batch released in 2012.

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Grizedale Red Kite Release Pens

The final thirty kites released in 2012 were taken from a number of nests as nestling’s  from the Forestry Commission’s  Rockingham Forest in Northamptonshire and then relocated to Grizedale.

The 2012 Red Kites were each fitted with different coloured tags on their wings. An orange one on the left to show they are from Grizedale, and one on the right to indicate the year of release – red ones for 2012.  Some of the birds were also fitted with  radio transmitters to allow Forestry Commission wildlife rangers to monitor the birds following their release.

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One of a number of red kites from the first batch released in 2010 found shot near Dent, Cumbria.

The Forestry Commission North West England was granted a special licence to release 90 red kites in Grizedale Forest over a three- year period.

Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. Numbers are now recovering slowly thanks to the actions of conservationists and several successful reintroduction projects in both England and Scotland.

Because the reintroduction schemes have proved so successfull with surplus birds now expanding  into other areas of the country, there are now estimated to be more than 1,000 pairs of the red kites in the country.

2 comments to First Cumbrian Red Kite chicks since 1860 fledge this week in Cumbria

  • Wonderful news. Well done to all concerned with the project. Lets hope there increase & spread throughout Britain continues.

  • Jon Bowen

    Really great news and fantastic news. Loved watching Red Kites in mid wales back in the day and always get a buzz where ever I see them.