Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Thriving Red Kite

Having been introduced to Northern Ireland four years ago, it seems that the red kite is thriving.

After an absence of 200 years, red kites have successfully bred in the forests of Northern Ireland.

This brings to 80 the total number of birds released by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Northern Ireland.

Altogether five chicks have fledged from four nests across south Down.

Once widespread across Europe, red kites have suffered from persecution, including shooting and poisoning.

News of the breeding success news was announced by the RSPB at the third and final release of the majestic birds in County Down, part of the reintroduction programme.

The RSPB praised the co-operation of farmers and landowners in achieving the conservation milestone. The birds are now regularly seen across County Down and further afield. 

The RSPB said it was thrilled that, from having no Red Kites in Northern Ireland four years ago, there was now a fledgling breeding population.
"It has been a real labour of love and so many people have contributed to this process," Adam McClure, RSPB Red Kite officer said.
"The return of Red Kites to our skies is a tribute to all of them. Most important was the co-operation given by local farmers who have been extremely supportive; the fact that the Ulster Farmers' Union now has the Red Kite on their logo is superb."
Despite the successes, however, it has not all been good news for Red Kites.

Since the project began in Northern Ireland in 2008, they have suffered a number of losses due to misuse of pesticides in the countryside.

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