The Golden Eagle Trust (GET) along with project partners National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Welsh Kite Trust brought back red kites to Ireland between 2007 and 2011. The Fingal Red Kite release programme was part of the final and fifth year of an ambitious project to re-establish Red Kites in Ireland. The GET managed the Fingal Red Kite project, which was funded by Fingal LEADER Partnership through the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 and NPWS. Fingal County Council and a private landowner hosted and facilitated the two separate release cages.

In 2011 the final batch of 53 red kites were released and saw these graceful raptors released including at these strategic locations in Fingal. The Fingal sites were located half way between the initial red kite release locations in Co. Wicklow and Co. Down.


Dr Marc Ruddock, Red Kite Project Manager for GET said “This project was aimed to maximise the final year of the reintroduction and to help establish a contiguous east coast All-Ireland red kite population. We know this year that there are now Fingal kites known to be breeding in Co. Down and Co. Wicklow and both Northern Ireland and Wicklow kites are also recorded in Fingal so we are buoyant that the reintroduction can be considered a remarkable success in Ireland.”

Monitoring of the red kites has been undertaken since kites were released July 2011 but unfortunately the project was beset with unexpected losses in the first 12 months with 10 kites that confirmed dead during radio-tracking. These deaths were not considered in vain as it allowed the project team to identify a previously unknown threat to kites and other raptors in this area from second generation rodenticides and these deaths contributed to the formation of the national Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) to raise awareness and understanding of these important chemicals.

Dr Marc Ruddock, continued: “It is hugely rewarding to see the first confirmed chicks, it felt to me like the final piece of the jigsaw in the red kite reintroduction and I would personally like to thank all the people and organisation who made this happen. We have been monitoring the progress of the kites in the area and have now have six established pairs and 2016 has allowed us to locate the nest and confirm these young”.

Mrs Phil Moore of the Fingal LEADER Partnership, which part-funded the Fingal reintroduction said “We are absolutely delighted with the confirmation of fledged young; this project is very close to all our hearts here in Fingal and we felt every death acutely but it is doubly fantastic to hear about new young kites now flying in Fingal and we wish the project team and the red kites every continued success”.

Mr Derek O’Brien, Chairman of the Dublin Regional Game Council said “I welcome the presence of the kites in the wider Fingal area and particularly the role we have observed they are playing in the natural control and predation of rats and crows in the wider area. It was very rewarding to confirm the successful red kite breeding this year in Fingal”.

Mr Hans Visser, Biodiversity Officer for Fingal County Council said “The last time we had red kites breeding in North County Dublin would have been more than a century ago, so this is a pretty amazing result. It has been interesting for us to see the red kites show up in some of our other nature conservation project sites too and hopefully red kites will become a common sight again as a result of more breeding successes in the future”.  

Local NPWS ranger, Mr Niall Harmey, said “I am very hopeful for the continued increase of red kite population in counties Dublin and Meath and I urge everybody to be mindful of wildlife and look out for the red kite and help protect it in the wider Fingal area”.

One of the Fingal nest was remotely monitored by nest camera under licence and found that breeding adults were both released in 2011 from Newbridge Demesne. The female is Blue White C4 and the male is Blue White A8 both collected from Wales in 2011. The two chicks produced at this nest were ringed and wing-tagged under licence to allow the project team to follow the movements and survival of these birds. These two chicks were tagged as Blue Purple AA and Blue Purple AB.

The Golden Eagle Trust wishes to express humble thanks to the Welsh Kite Trust for their gargantuan support of the reintroductions also an abundance of organisations and volunteers who have supported the Fingal Red Kite Project especially Fingal LEADER Partnership & the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 and NPWS for funding the reintroduction as well as the extensive financial, logistical or practical support provided by many dozens of people from Fingal County Council, Dublin Regional Game Council, BirdWatch Ireland Fingal, Fingal Conservation Volunteers, Burren Bird of Prey Centre, Irish Raptor Study Group, Tayto Park and AOL Monster Help Day. In particular the team are grateful of local gun clubs and farmers who all have been hugely supportive of the project since its inception and the ongoing monitoring over many years and hope it is a great reward for everybody to confirm the successful fledging of young in Fingal.

Editors Notes

The Fingal Red Kite Project is part of an All-Ireland effort to restore red kites.  The Golden Eagle Trust ( ) and NPWS began releasing red kites in County Wicklow in 2007 and subsequently the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) began releasing red kites in County Down in 2008. Releases were completed in 2011.

Numerous red kite bones were recovered in excavations from the 11th century Wood Quay site on the River Liffey and noted in Phoenix Park during the 14th century.  We hope that the restoration of red kites in Fingal within a short distance of Dublin city centre, is a further demonstration that Ireland is now rediscovering its ancient respect and cultural connection with the crucial role of nature in our everyday lives and society.

The Golden Eagle Trust was founded in 1999, and is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation and restoration of Ireland’s native birds and their habitats, in particular declining, threatened, and extinct species. The Golden Eagle Trust manages reintroduction programmes for Golden Eagles in Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal, White-tailed Eagles in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry and Red Kites in Co. Wicklow & Co. Dublin, in partnership with the NPWS. The Golden Eagle Trust’s main aim is to restore, enhance and maintain threatened and extinct native Irish bird species and their habitats through; (i) creative and pro-active conservation management; (ii) practical conservation research; and (iii) imaginative education and public awareness.

Dr Marc Ruddock; Golden Eagle Trust; Red Kite Project Manager; 0873578590;   

Mr Lorcan O’Toole; Golden Eagle Trust; General Manager; 0871310177;

Fingal LEADER Partnership is responsible for the delivery of the Rural Development Programme in this area.   Supports are available under nine measures including a measure for the Conservation & Upgrade of Rural Heritage under which support for the Red Kite Project is eligible.  For information on support available and criteria see or contact or (01) 8077 680.

The Welsh Kite Trust ( ) is a registered charity which raises funds, through individual and corporate sponsorship and by undertaking contract work, to ensure that the conservation and monitoring of kites in Wales is maintained as a high priority. It also advises landowners and others on all matters relating to kites in Wales for example; photography or filming at nests and the setting up of live video links for tourism centres. Interested individuals can become a ‘Friend of the Welsh Kite‘ on payment of an annual subscription

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the Heritage Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and has key roles to i) secure the conservation of a range of ecosystems and maintain and enhance populations of flora and fauna in Ireland ii) to designate and advise on the protection of Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) and iii) to implement of National and EU legislation and policies and to manage, maintain and develop State-owned National Parks and Nature Reserves. For more information contact
Fingal County Council have an extensive conservation and biodiversity department responsible for protecting and enhancing natural heritage which is vital for the health, well-being and quality of life of communities. Natural heritage and biodiversity focus on the variety of wildlife we see around us every day, and the natural landscapes which form our surroundings. For more information contact Hans Visser or online

The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) operates under the banner “Think Wildlife”, CRRU promotes best practice and responsible rodent control, thereby protecting wildlife from rodenticide exposure. The CRRU Code promotes responsible use of rodenticides and more information can be found at

All images, videos and monitoring work carried out under appropriate wildlife licencing issued by National Parks & Wildlife Service.


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