YRK Newsletter (21)


Newsletter – Issue (21)

Sightings of Red Kites continue to be reported from an increasingly wide area, showing that the birds are continuing to explore new locations. However, there has still been no confirmation of breeding pairs to the south of Leeds. Issue 20 reported on the increase in sightings of kites in the North Nottinghamshire, North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire localities, they having become a regular sight as far north as the Doncaster area. Such reports (including two breeding records which were not quite in Yorkshire) have continued in the ensuing period and it will surely not be long before kites become a regular and widespread feature in the landscape throughout the county – particularly when this northerly progression reaches areas already populated by birds originating from the Yorkshire release site at Harewood. It is likely that these are predominantly kites which have spread northwards from the well-established Midlands population, arising from birds released in Northamptonshire in the mid-1990s. Such traffic of Midlands birds northwards is something we’ve been aware of, on a small scale, for a number of years, the occasional tagged Midlands bird having joined the Yorkshire breeding population in the past.

Read more: YRK Newsletter (21)

The Tale (tail) Of The Ragged Kite!

Sam Reynolds Aug19 002a

We've had several photos sent to us recently of red kites looking "worse for wear"!

Red kites moult a small number of their feathers on an annual basis, with non-breeding birds starting to moult earliest in the year (even as early as April). Parents tend to start moulting once their young have fledged in June / July.

Moulting is an energy-sapping process, it taking individual feathers 8 to 10 weeks to grow back to full size.

Many times you will spot that the gaps in the wing feathers are symmetrical (same on both sides), this is a natural occurrence helping the birds maintain their flying abilities. In general feathers will be moulted in the same pattern / order on each wing during each moult season, with moulting normally having concluded by November.

Our red kites do not migrate over large distances, though you will find them congregating in 'winter roosts'. As with many birds moulting is unusual during winter months as the birds are conserving their energy. If you see a bird with a missing feather at this time of the year it may well have been damaged by flying into something!

Read more: The Tale (tail) Of The Ragged Kite!

Yorkshire’s oldest confirmed breeding Red Kite

In 2019 we have been monitoring a newly built nest in East Yorkshire, in a wood where we’ve been observing breeding red kites since 2001. Earlier in the breeding season we observed a kite sitting on this nest and, as in previous years, almost as soon as we approached the location, we had a second adult kite flying above us.
On this occasion the adult kite flew and perched close enough for us to see - through high powered optics - that it had a leg ring on its right leg and we were able to read some of the digits.

Red Kites on Canvas

Our friend Julie Arme from Acorn Glade Glamping at Melbourne, East Yorkshire https://www.acornglade.co.uk/ is an artist working in Mixed Media and has produced this life size, textured image of a red kite. Julie has suggested that if anyone was interested she would consider selling it.

Contact Julie directly please through the website above.


Read more: Red Kites on Canvas

Who's a lucky bird?

It's nice to be able to tell, what we hope will be a happy ending story.

Our coordinator Doug got a call from Harewood on Wednesday. A kite had been found trapped up against a fence and had been retrieved. Its plumage was in a mess and it had an injury to one wing. It could have been stuck there for several days. Lucky someone noticed it.

Doug took it to Crab Lane Vets in Harrogate - specialists in Red Kite work. They x-rayed it and found no signs of serious damage to the wing. It’s plumage has been cleaned up and it is feeding well. Now in the rehab pen at Harewood - see image below.

On checking the number on its BTO ring Doug found that it was one of the first batch of kites he fetched from the Chilterns in 1999. It’s nearly its 20th birthday. Let's hope it makes it.