Red kites again
Message from Ian, Sunday April 18th:
A Red Kite appeared over Sleepers Field and settled briefly on top of the Oak in the hedge between Sleepers and Cornfield before continuing towards Lambrok Meadow. I spoke with a nearby walker who said it joined up with another over Kestrel Field; we seem to have a pair that have included the park in their territory!
Red kites were hunted to extinction in England in 1871, and in Scotland in 1879. A small population, derived from a single female bird, clung on in central Wales until, in the early 1930s, there were only two breeding pairs of red kites anywhere in the British Isles.
These few Welsh kites were watched, protected and carefully nurtured. Their population slowly began to increase until, by the end of the 1980s, there were 80 breeding pairs. At this point, the RSPB and Natural England initiated a programme of reintroduction in the Chiltern Hills in south east England; similar programmes soon followed in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Red kites from Sweden, Spain and Germany were brought in to widen the native gene pool that had been narrowed so dramatically as the species teetered on the edge. Today, there are believed to be 4,600 breeding pairs of red kites in Britain, an astonishing success story.
We can do these things; we can restore environments and reintroduce the species that have been lost. Perhaps the red kite should be the emblem of the UK’s Nature Recovery Networks.
Video from vogelarchiv.de
Header picture (CC0) from pixabay.com