The raptor haters is an occasional series of articles on people who slag off birds of prey.
Richard Ingrams finds red kites ‘menacing‘, ‘savage‘ and ‘unlikeable‘ and is ‘pleased to see a picture of a dead one‘. Every three years or so he dips his pen in poison and is really nasty about these magnificent birds.
Here are three articles by Ingrams where he is rude about red kites; 13 June 2004 (Observer), 1 September 2007 (Independent), and 3 April 2010 (Independent). It looks like we are in the middle of a three-year pause in anti-kite vitriol from Ingrams but maybe that’s too hopeful.
Ingrams clearly doesn’t know that much about red kites as he speculates that they play a significant part in songbird declines.
There was a red kite over my East Northants garden yesterday morning. It brought me huge amounts of pleasure as it is a symbol of conservation success and hope for the future.
Red kites disappeared from Northants in the middle of the 19th century and have only made a return thanks to their reintroduction by conservationists. And apart from a very few people like Ingrams I cannot find many who dislike this bird at all. The return of the red kite to my local skies has not caused the collapse of the rural economy, it hasn’t wiped out all other wildlife and no babies have been eaten.
What is surprising is that local businesses have not cashed in on the kites at all. No local farmer has a kite viewing site, no-one is, as far as I know, charging people to show them red kites and no local pubs advertise the fact that you can see kites from their gardens.
But many local people get a thrill each time a kite sails over their garden, their school playground or their journey into or from work. Nature enhances our lives provided we can lift our eyes to the skies and see.