North Scotland Red Kite poisonings - the Kite Officer's view

Ross-shire massacre: "the worst 2 weeks of my life", says red kite officer

Brian Etheridge should have been celebrating this week; it's the 19th anniversary of his work as the RSPB's Red Kite Officer in the Black Isle area. Instead, he's witnessed one of the worst mass poisoning incidents in recent times: 12 red kites and 4 buzzards found to date. The 12 red kite victims were birds that he's known for years.

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Police renew hunt for person who killed red kite near Harewood

Police are appealing for help to find the person who shot dead a "majestic" red kite near Harewood.

Officers were first alerted to the crime – it is an offence to take, injure, kill or disturb the species – last autumn, after the shot bird had been taken to the Harewood House Bird Garden.

But the police are still searching for the perpetrator, and this week renewed their appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

North East Leeds Wildlife Crime Officer PC Andy Katkowski, a member of the Wetherby and Harewood Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "We were called to reports of a dead red kite that had been found in Carthick Woods, next to the River Wharfe between Harewood and Collingham.

Read the full article in the Wharfedale Observer here

The kite who was ducked by a goose!

From MailOnline

Bedraggled bird of prey limps back to land after bruising encounter on the water

By Paul Harris

Utterly bedraggled and looking rather stunned, a red kite struggles back to the shore after a bruising encounter with a goose.

The bird of prey, supremely graceful in the air with its magnificent 5ft wingspan, was clearly out of its depth in the water.

It had made the mistake of plunging down to grab a piece of meat that had been dropped by another kite.

bedraggled kite

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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