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Red Kites

Author: John Riches Published: 7th January 2019 09:05

At first I thought it was a buzzard. They are now frequent visitors to our village. But its forked tail suggested it was a red kite that are also now regular visitors here.At first I thought it was a buzzard. They are now frequent
visitors to our village. But its forked tail suggested it was a red
kite that are also now regular visitors here.

I was bringing in one of my wheelie-bins last week when up out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large bird gliding just above the roof tops. At first I thought it was a buzzard.

They are now frequent visitors to our village. But its forked tail suggested it was a red kite that are also now regular visitors here.

They are beautiful large birds with a wing span that can approach two metres and are a real tribute to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England who administered their reintroduction to southern England. The web site of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty explained what happened.
 
By the end of the 19th Century red kites had been persecuted to extinction. Perhaps because they were erroneously believed to eat farmers’ new born lambs.

Between 1989 and 1994 red kites from Spain were imported and released into the Chiltern Hills by the RSPB and Natural England. They have thrived and have gradually extended their range right into Northamptonshire and beyond. They mainly feed on dead animals but are opportunistic hunters that are capable of killing small animals.

One day I was pedalling quietly down National Cycle Route 50 between Syresham and Wappenham.

On the tarmac in front of me a large bird was feeding on road kill.

As I approached it silently rose into the air and I could see the dark read plumage on the under-side of its body.
 
Today both red kites and buzzards are seen very frequently soaring above Towcester and the surrounding villages.

John Riches

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