The raptor haters – Richard Ingrams

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.


7 Replies to “The raptor haters – Richard Ingrams”

  1. I cannot understand why anyone would ‘hate’ these beautiful creatures. Where I live in Dorset seeing Red Kite is a rarity 🙁
    However over the last few months I have spent a couple of weeks working near to Brecon and what a treat it was to see these birds as a common sight, with some even coming in low to have a look at us 😀
    People need to remember that every creature on this planet has a place and an important role in the eco system, we should be embracing creatures not destroying them.

    1. Martin – I agree completely. Keep your eyes open in Dorset for red kites as they are gradually spreading your way. Poisoning, which is of course both illegal and indiscriminate, is one of the problems faced by kites as they naturally eat a lot of carrion.

  2. Drink a Red Kite whilst watching a Red Kite – next time your in one of the pubs Mark, you could encourage them to stock Red Kite beer, brewed by Black Isle Brewery, and it’s organic!

  3. can’t believe how much he uses the word ‘menacing’, they’re hardly that! i’ve only seen a handful in my time and the words ‘graceful’ and ‘beautiful’ come to mind, and it also fascinates me that these amazing birds were all but extinct in the UKonly decades ago

  4. I second the recommendation for Black Isle’s ‘Red Kite’, they also make ‘Yellowhammer’ which is a rather tasty light summer ale. Tastes like a fresh meadow!

    We should all make a point of pointing out kites as often as possible so that people come to love and appreciate them. I often don’t bother mentioning them when in Reading now, since they have become so common, and I presumed therefore that everybody else was noticing and enjoying them too.

    However it turns out our friends neighbour claimed to have never seen one until they pointed one out to him, even though groups of four or five are circling above his house on an almost daily basis!

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