Red kites seen flying over Leeds city centre

From a report on the BBC News website -

It is now 11 years since the process of reintroducing Red Kites into Yorkshire began at Harewood in 1999.

The birds are being seen on an increasingly regular and widespread basis, even in urban Leeds, a sure sign that the programme has been successful.

Red Kites are large birds with a distinctive forked tail.

The project officer Doug Simpson said: "The programme got off to a cracking start with successful breeding in the first 12 months and never looked back."

Doug has been involved since the start of the release at Harewood when 69 young birds were released between 1999 and 2003.

Read more: Red kites seen flying over Leeds city centre

Red Kite poisoned in Nidderdale

From the North Yorkshire Police website (

Wildlife officers are investigating after an endangered bird of prey was found dead in Nidderdale.

In May 2012 a fieldworker was monitoring Raptors on Lofthouse Moor when he came across the body of a Red Kite near a cattle grid.

The bird had been dead for a few days and it appeared to have been feeding on a baby rabbit at the time of its death.

The fieldworker alerted officers who suspected that the bird had been poisoned.

Natural England sent the bird for a post mortem under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme, at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Thirsk, but an obvious cause of death could not be found.

Further samples were sent to the Food and Environment Agency at Sand Hutton, near York, where toxicology tests established that the Ride Kite had been poisoned by a combination of banned pesticides.

The toxicology tests also revealed that the bird had eaten rodents which had been poisoned using commonly available rat and mouse poison.

PC Gareth Jones, a Wildlife Officer for North Yorkshire Police, who is investigating the incident, said: "The use of rat and mouse poison is a common problem which puts the lives of Red Kites and other birds of prey in danger.

"It is the responsibility of anyone who puts down poison to control rats and mice, to collect the dead rodents and dispose of them properly.

"It is a great shame that another Red Kite has been killed in North Yorkshire particularly as they are an endangered species and have only recently returned to the county.

"These birds should be cherished and North Yorkshire Police's Wildlife Crime Unit takes this kind of incident extremely seriously. If anyone has any information about this incident or any other bird of prey persecution, please contact the police or Crimestoppers as soon as possible."

If you can help officers with their investigation please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 - select option 2 - and ask for Gareth Jones or Ripon police.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The RSPB also have a confidential reporting line 0845 466 3636.

2.48pm - 14 August 2012

Harry Witts Orange/Red 7 Drawing March 2012



Harry Is Good With Numbers!


Eleven year old Harry Witts a junior member of the YWT together with his younger sister Ella is an active member of the Cottingham Wildlife Watch Group. On a recent visit to an East Yorkshire red kite roost with the CWWG Harry, and other group members spotted coming into roost one of the few red kites left in East Yorkshire to have retained it’s wing tags. Seeing a tagged kite always adds interest for everyone. So much so Harry decided to record the event by drawing the tagged bird. The bird identified as Orange/Red7 fledged from a nest at Harewood in 2003 turned up in East Yorkshire where it was first recorded nesting in 2005, and has remained ever since






Drawing of Orange/Red7 by Harry Witts Aged 11.



Red kite chicks found poisoned near Ilkley

From the Ilkley Gazette 21st April 2011

Rare red kite chicks found dead in a nest near Ilkley have been confirmed as the latest victims of illegal poisoning in North Yorkshire.

Two of three young birds of prey found in a nest in the Denton area, north of the River Wharfe, last year, died after ingesting pesticide Carbofuran, a laboratory has now confirmed.

This brings the total number of Yorkshire-related red kite deaths blamed on the illegal placing of poisoned baits in open countryside to 20.

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Red kites flying high more than a decade on

From the Yorkshire Post 30th April 2010

It is 11 years since the magnificent red kite returned to Yorkshire's skies. Roger Ratcliffe meets the man who has masterminded the project.

"That one there . . ." Doug Simpson points to a large russet-red bird with a silvery grey head that is perched on the branch of a Scots pine.

Through his telescope it's seen to be sporting a wing tag with the numeral "1", and Doug's voice takes on an affectionate tone, as if he has unexpectedly bumped into a member of his family. "That was the very first Red Kite chick raised from a nest here, way back in 2000."

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