Three Red Kites found poisoned last year just reported to the public.

WT J 1 as I foundThe following press release has been issued today by FoRK and relates to 3 red kites each found poisoned last year (Friends of Red Kites) –


It has just been reported by FoRK (Friends of Red Kites) that 3 red kites were found illegally poisoned last year in the north east of England. The discovery was reported to Natural England by the above group who asked Natural England to report back with any update; to date no update has been forthcoming, hence the release of this press release by FoRK.

One poisoned kites was found close to a grouse moor near Edmundbyers, Co Durham and had died from Carbofuran poisoning despite the use of the chemical being banned in Britain since 2002. The two other kites were found dead together at High Spen, Gateshead, and included a wing-tagged female from a nearby breeding site which had produced young for the previous four years. Both of these red kites had died as a result of poisoning by Aldicarb, a widely-used pesticide which has been implicated in deliberate poisonings elsewhere in Britain.

Red Kite Poisoned Location

Location where one of the red kites was found poisoned (Carbofuran), close to a grouse moor south of Edmundbyers, Co Durham alongside the B6278

The bodies of all three were recovered and sent for post-mortem examination after tip-offs from the public last November but the details of these deaths has only just been released.

The three deaths, revealed by Friends of Red Kites (FoRK), the voluntary group set up to protect and monitor the population, brings the region’s total number of known kite casualties from illegal poisoning to ten in recent years.

Toxologt Report

Toxicology Report

FoRK has condemned the killings but fears that the known deaths are just the tip of the iceberg and that many more dead birds are never found. It believes that persistent persecution, mainly through illegal poisoned baits, is among factors preventing the birds from spreading from their core Derwent Valley sites.

Previous poisoning involved two kites found dead in Hexhamshire and a breeding pair killed near Whittonstall whose chicks then perished in the nest. Other local kites were found poisoned in Teesdale and Wharfedale, Yorkshire. Another bird, which moved to Scotland, was found poisoned in the Cairngorms. Other kites have been found in suspicious circumstances but have been dead too long for scientific examination.

Allan Withrington, FoRK Kite Welfare Officer, said: “These poisonings are appalling and totally unacceptable. Carbofuran has been illegal in this country for many years but is still apparently the poison of choice of those who illegally put out poisoned baits to target raptors, crows and foxes. 

Leaving poisoned baits in the open is not only illegal but completely indiscriminate as the deaths of many bird and animals, including dogs and cats, has shown over the years.

We will be continuing to do everything possible to expose those responsible and work with the police, farmers, landowners and other conservation organisations to protect the red kites and other species.”

The most recent available figures from the RSPB show that there were 76 confirmed cases of illegal poisoning in Britain in 2013, including 19 from Carbofuran and 5 from Albicarb. Twenty-one red kites were among the victims which also included buzzard, white-tailed eagle, golden eagle and marsh harrier. Raven, magpie, sparrowhawk and even a collared dove also died along with two dogs and two cats.

Britain’s single worst recorded wildlife poisoning incident occurred in April 2014 with red kites being the main victims. 16 kites and six buzzards were found dead near Inverness. Despite a major investigation by Police Scotland and rewards totalling £32,000 being offered no-one has been charged.

3 comments to Three Red Kites found poisoned last year just reported to the public.

  • The day time raptors are well covered but what about the owls. The Short eared Owl is killed far more times than Hen Harrier and many other raptors put together. Night excursions by keepers have been witnessed by the RSPB just to kill SEO. These birds are not tolerated on shoot days like many others they can damage a drive and have to be removed if a large tax free ‘back hander’ for the gamekeeper is to be achieved. I have never seen one report on this web site about SEO! Read the annual bird reports for the areas and see how scarce they are! Anyone want contribute?

  • Paul Danielson


    I agree that owls are persecuted just as much and that details should be published equally. It is unacceptable that any wildlife is killed for sport or just because sections of the community does not like them. The hawk and owl trust surely should be publicising the owl deaths but do not seem to. I’m not involved in the politics but I gather there are reasons why they do not publicise as much as they should? I may be wrong. However all groups involved in the protection of wildlife should be joining together and making sure the public are aware ofthe scale of what is going on

  • Mick

    That location isn’t near a grouse moor it actually is a grouse moor. I’m sure it’s part of Muggleswick Estate which is owned by former fly fisherman and Ferox Capital hedge fund owner Jeremy Herrmann.