A bird of resolution

The recovery of the red kite is a great conservation success story and it’s good to see it celebrated in the regional press like here.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to see red kites, and spend at least a minute revelling in their beauty, on at least 200 days this year.  They are now such a common sight over my garden that it feels like the occasional glance out of the window will almost be all that is required.

I’m glad that they are now such a common part of the Northamptonshire scene that you can read posts like these about them (here, here, here, here, here, here and here)

This bird was absent from the Northamptonshire skies for well over a century until reintroduction projects restored them here.

Occasionally red kites are still killed in Northamptonshire which is illegal and a great shame.  A crying shame.

I’m going to enjoy red kites this year and not take them for granted.  Just because they are now fairly common I shouldn’t ignore them – I should delight in their grace and so that’s what I shall do.  And I have, so far, seen red kites on three out of four days this year.

One way that you could help them is to support this epetition on the subject of vicarious liability – it would make employers partly responsible if their employees (for example, their gamekeepers) were killing red kites illegally.  Such a liability exists for other sorts of offences and does already exist for illegal raptor persecution in Scotland.  It would be good to have it in England too.

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4 Replies to “A bird of resolution”

  1. Mark - I remember when I was growing up, not so long ago really (30 *cough* odd years *cough*), holidaying in mid Wales and desperately trying to see a kite.

    Just a few (dozen) years later and after studying zoology at Bristol I moved back to south Bucks just as Kites were being re-introduced to the Chilterns.
    It almost seemed surreal to see the first kites over High Wycombe and now, after spending many weekends in Watlington (arguably the HQ of English (Spanish!) Red Kites) visiting my father during his time there, it would almost be surreal NOT to see dozens effortlessly soaring around.

    Now I'm married and spent a few years in Berkshire and a day without a kite is a day where I've been locked inside a room with no windows - in fact they've got so common round here that I can't help wondering if they're filling a niche that buzzards could have taken? (Even though I know Buzzards are doing just fine).

    I have spent the last few years getting more excited about seeing buzzards (or even kestrels!) than I have red kites - but thirty years ago I wouldn't have believed that possible.

    Heresy maybe, but kites, in the air, are indeed truly magnificent birds - staying airborne (but not really soaring) with no flaps of their wings at all, just a few tail feathers tweaked here and there - and yet, of all our raptors, sitting on a branch or in a field, I regard them to be the least impressive or pretty.

    Give me a beautifully camouflaged, mottled buzzard or a dashing kestrel, a proud, arrogant peregrine or a guided missile sparrowhawk, rather than a kite any day!

    I'd never have believed I'd have ever thought, let alone written the above sentence!


    1. Hi Mark,

      I hope you don't mind me pointing out this piece I wrote about red kites seen from a train through the Chilterns whilst travelling to Birmingham: http://danieljamesgreenwood.com/2012/01/03/gawping-at-the-chilterns/

      They are one of those birds which makes you draw breath, they're are beautiful and look so powerful in flight. Amazing to think they were once protected by the Queen and were, in a way, the bin men of central London.


  2. Typical everyone seems to crow about seeing Red Kites and in Dorset we seem to get one sighting by one person a month.


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