Second batch of 30 Red Kites released in Cumbria this week.

The second batch of 30 Red kites filled the skies above Grizedale Forest in Cumbria yesterday as part of a landmark conservation project. The 30 birds were released by the Forestry Commission’s wildlife ranger Iain Yoxall after being brought to Cumbria as hatchlings from the commission’s breeding site in Rockingham Forest, Nottinghamshire.

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Of the 30 Red Kites released last year, 3 have been found shot and poisoned

Each of the released red kites have been fitted with unique wing tags which indicated one bird from another and the year in which they were returned into the wild. An orange tag on their left wing indicates that they are from Grizedale and a white tag on their right wing shows they were released in 2011, while last year’s first batch of 30  kites were fitted with blue tags on their right wings.

Mr Yoxall said: “It is a fabulous sight seeing the young birds fly out of their pen and into the skies above the Grizedale Forest.

“It is great seeing them circling above the forest and getting to know their new surroundings.

“These birds were once native to the area and this second batch of birds, along with the birds released last year, will become a spectacular addition to the region’s biodiversity.”

Another 30 birds will be released next year as part of the reintroduction programme which is aiming to re-establish the birds throughout  the north west. [singlepic id=166 w=320 h=216 float=right] 

The birds have also been fitted with radio transmitters to allow wildlife rangers to monitor how they are getting on in the wild.

Red kites were native to the area until they were almost eradicated from the UK in the 19th century. The last pair of Cumbrian red kites were shot near Aramthwaite in  woodland along the banks of the river Eden in the early 18th Century.

Red Kites are predominantly carrion feeders and a special advisory group has been formed, consisting of experts from Natural England, the RSPB and the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, to ensure the project’s success.

 Red kites are coloured chestnut red and have white patches under their wings. The wing span of fully fledged adults can be around five feet. Theytypically begin breeding in their second or third year and usually pair for life. The long term aim across the country is that the kites expand into other areas and eventually join together.

The UK’s population or red kites is expanding and there are now thought to be more than 1,000 pairs in the country.

Related Posts:

Red Kite found shot after just 10 weeks of freedom

Second Red Kite from the first batch of 30 released in 2010 found shot

Red Kites in England extict since 1765 now back on top

10 Scottish Red Kite chicks all poisoned by 2nd Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides

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