Hungry red kites terrorize Oxfordshire town by attacking people and snatching food from them
Birds of prey terrorize Henley-on-Thames by attacking people and stealing their food.
A two-year-old boy was left with blood dripping from his hand when a huge bird – thought to be a red kite – with five feet wide wings swooped down to grab his cookie.
In another attack in the town, a woman was forced to flee inside when a red kite, with sharp talons, attempted to snatch smoked mackerel from her salad.
The attacks in the city of Oxfordshire have led experts to implore people not to ‘tame’ the kites – which look like eagles – by feeding them leftovers in the back gardens.
Hannah Bird’s two-year-old son Frankie was with his grandmother Julie, waiting to pick up Frankie’s older brother Cody, eight, from Valley Road Elementary School.
His grandmother had given Frankie a custard cookie when the kite came down.
Frankie Bird, 2, was injured in his hand after a red kite stung and snatched a cookie from his hand as attacks from large birds of prey on the rise in Henley-on-Thames
Frankie was taken to hospital for an exam after suffering these hand injuries
His talons or his razor sharp beak scratched the toddler’s hand as he snatched the cookie.
Frankie, who was sitting in his stroller, was terrified when the bird returned moments later before flying away again,
His mother, who worked from home in Highlands Park, took him to Townlands Memorial Hospital, where his right hand was bandaged.
They returned the next day for a check-up and were told the scratches would heal soon.
Ms Bird, 33, told Henley Standard: ‘The scratches happened on the first fall but came back on them because he dropped the cookie and didn’t know where it was go.
‘Frankie’s grandmother tried to protect him and she finally picked up the cookie from the ground and flew away. ”
Her sister-in-law Amy works at school as a nanny and came out when she found out what had happened.
Ms Bird added: ‘Luckily I was working from home and we were able to get him to Townlands quickly. We waited about an hour to see the nurse and she was absolutely amazing.
The locals of Henley-on-Thames believe the red kites (pictured) are getting bolder because people are feeding them in hopes of getting good photos of the birds of prey
Frankie received a teddy bear and rhino sticker from the hospital for his bravery and ate some pancakes after he got home that evening. Ms Bird said staff put her son at ease after his ordeal.
Ms Bird, married to Liam, also 33, told the hospital that incidents like this involving kites were becoming more common.
“It seems to be happening because more and more people are feeding them. I also heard the kites go through the school trash cans.
“ They’re supposed to bounce back, which I think is great, but they seem to be getting more cheeky. ”
During the second attack, Anna Howell was enjoying a meal in the garden when the red kite dive bombed her.
Anna, who lives with her husband Trevor in Makins Road, Henley, said she didn’t know anyone was high while she ate her meal outdoors.
“ He got down and grazed the top of my head, trying to pinch the smoked mackerel out of my salad.
“ I retired inside and then he tried the same on Trevor.
Reports have been made of birds stealing buns and even steaks from barbecues in Henley (pictured)
Despite the persecution, there are now over 2,000 red kites across the UK
Red kites can be up to 66cm long with a wingspan of 195cm.
They are known to nest in tall trees, building their nests from twigs and leaves at least 20m above the ground.
At one point, confined to Wales due to persecution, a reintroduction program brought red kites back to many parts of England and Scotland. Central Wales, central England – especially the Chilterns and central Scotland.
There are now over 2000 red kites spreading and reproducing rapidly across the UK.
It is an offense to take, injure or kill a red kite or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.
It is also prohibited to intentionally or recklessly disturb birds near their nests during the spring breeding season.
Violating the law can result in fines of up to £ 5,000 per offense and / or imprisonment for up to six months.
“ Although we love to watch them, it’s very scary to have such a big bird so close.
“ I mentioned this on our neighborhood forum and couldn’t believe how many other people have had similar experiences recently.
Hot buns snatched from people’s hands, steaks snatched from barbecues, a woman hit on the head by the bird’s wing, giving her a headache for several days.
“We all think the problem is that some local people feed the red kites so that they can be photographed close-up. We see the kites plunge into their gardens.
“All the advice from wildlife organizations like the RSPB is never to feed them.
Henley is close to the Chiltern Hills where a project began in the early 1990s to reintroduce red kites and it has been so successful that they have now spread across much of England and the Country of Wales.
They forage while foraging, often feasting on road death and dumping, but they will also dive on chicken thighs and other leftovers that people throw in their gardens to enjoy the spectacle of watching birds dive from the sky, tightened greenhouses.
The RSPCA has called on the public not to feed the kites as it encourages them to try to take food from the picnic tables.
Red kites, once one of the most common birds in London’s skies, were driven to extinction in England by human persecution in the late 19th century.
A small population survived in Wales, but they were unlikely to repopulate their areas of origin.
Between 1989 and 1994, kites from Spain were imported and launched in the Chilterns. They started breeding in the Chilterns in 1992 and there may now be over 1,000 breeding pairs in the area.
The reintroduction was so successful that it is not possible to monitor all the nests, so the overall population size cannot be estimated.
Since 1999, chicks have been taken from the Chilterns to reintroduction sites in other parts of the country and the species is increasingly common.
There are now over 2000 red kites spreading and breeding across the UK
Karolina Roszkowska of the RSPB said: “Red kites are fantastic birds of prey. Even 20 years ago, very few people would have the opportunity to see them.
“The fact that so many of us can now is a brilliant conservation achievement that we can all celebrate.
“Red kites are mainly scavengers that travel very far in search of food. They rarely have trouble finding dead animals and other things to eat, so people don’t need to provide them with food.
“While feeding red kites is not illegal, we encourage people not to put meat in gardens to supply their kites, as it is not necessary. There is a lot of food for the kites and people can get great views of them in many places.
“They can and will take live prey, especially small mammals such as mice and voles, especially at certain times of the year.
“ A steady diet of kites could ultimately lead to an unsustainable red kite population dependent on human donations. This can cause kites to get used to approaching and taking food from humans.
If there are too many kites in an area in winter, when people will not be in the snow and ice with leftovers for them, the birds could starve and die because there will be no not enough “ natural ” food for them to eat. .
A warning on the National Trust website encourages people to view and photograph the red kites, but not to offer them “any food.”
The trust says, “There is no need to supplement their natural diet,” warns the trust, whose vast, well-protected estates have become one of the strongholds of the red kites.
“ It is possible that the distribution of food could ultimately lead to an unsustainable population of red kites, dependent on human donations.
“Birds cannot tell the difference between the food that is voluntarily given to them and the picnics of visitors.
“The National Trust, BTO, RSPB and the Chilterns Conservation Board are all urging the public not to feed the red kites.