Meadow Watch – the Red Kite

Tustee, Ed Partridge tells us more about the Red Kite – Milvus Milvus

I was walking across the Meadow last week and was pleased to see a Red Kite circling on a thermal overhead. This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. It has been saved from national extinction by one of the world’s longest running protection programmes and has now been successfully re-introduced into England and Scotland.

Where to See the Red Kite
At one time, the few surviving birds were confined to Wales. But a reintroduction scheme has brought them back to many parts of England and Scotland where they can be seen all year round. Central Wales, Central England (especially the Chilterns) Central Scotland are the best areas to find them. But now if you are lucky you will see them flying over the Bishop’s Meadow especially during the annual hay cut!

What they eat
Red Kites were persecuted to near extinction in the UK because they were thought to kill livestock. But they actually mainly eat carrion and worms and will occasionally take small mammals.