Red Kite population increases in North Yorkshire and County Durham
NATURE lovers across North Yorkshire, County Durham and beyond can now be safe in the knowledge that red kites are thriving in the area after a research group found significant amounts of majestic birds living here on our doorstep.
After undertaking a study of red kites on Sunday 9th January, 20 Friends of Red Kites (FoRK) volunteers surveyed eight locations in the Derwent Valley and beyond to try and find out how many populate our great landscape .
In total, the nature group managed to locate 94 red kites, and now say the population is increasing.
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Ken Sanderson, FoRK Chairman and Head of Kite, said: “This is a fantastic result which confirms the idea that our population of red kites continues to increase. Hopefully the numbers will continue into the breeding season.
As part of the red kite survey, FoRK found two main roosts: one near Hamsterley Mill, where 71 red kites were counted, and the other further down the valley from the Derwent, just off Derwent Drive.
Despite encouraging signs of a population increase, the volunteers also noted that three birds may have been shot, due to their damaged feathers.
Mr Sanderson added: ‘For places where there are zero or one or two red kites left in the territory, this is still valuable information to add to our knowledge of kite behaviour. It was noted, with concern, that three red kites had damaged feathers, suggesting they may have been shot down.
According to Fork, many birds of prey are gregarious, especially outside the breeding season, but the red kite, its close relative the black kite, and several of the vultures, take this behavior to extremes where the common winter roost is typical.
They say the majority of red kites across a wide area enter the same roosting site at dusk. It is likely that king kites take advantage of loose communal gatherings by being able to forage in loose groups the following morning. Perches can also serve as a place for young red kites to interact with potential future mates.
If you are aware of a red kite roost, contact FoRK at www.friendsofredkites.org.uk.
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