The road from extinction
Samantha Woodman of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust tells the success story of the county's red kites to the Yorkshire Ridings Magazine
Red kites are a truly magnificent sight for any wildlife enthusiast; with a wingspan of 1.5 metres they are not only one of the UK's largest birds, but also one of the rarest and most beautiful. Red kites have had a rollercoaster ride over the last several centuries, going from being protected and valued as 'street cleaners' in medieval times, to being persecuted to complete extinction in England and Scotland by the end of the 19th century. Now, however, thanks to a group of dedicated conservation organisations and volunteers they have been reintroduced to sites across the UK and are making a steady come back. There are now over 2,000 pairs breeding in the UK with more than 100 of these pairs established in the heart of Yorkshire. Importantly, the growing UK population represents approximately 10% of the world's population of this majestic bird.