Tuesday, 28 August 2012
We were very close to losing the Red Kite in the U.K. The bird, once very common in Britain had been eradicated as a breeding bird in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and only a handful of birds clung on in the Welsh mountains. We were down to 1 breeding female and about 4 or 5 males. Thankfully, due to a re-introduction scheme, this magnificent bird is a fairly common sight once again in various parts of the country. We are very lucky in the Peterborough area in having a healthy population of this bird, it is an annual tick on my PBC list and is almost taken for granted. Almost, but not quite.
Lisa and I have just spent a few days in the midst of Wales and paid a visit to a site where they feed these birds. It wasn't the famous Gigrin farm, but a Forestry Commission place called Bwich nant yr Arian. At three o'clock every day, come rain or shine (rain on the occasion of our visit), 10kg of meat is put out to tempt these birds to come down and feed. They do not disappoint. Over 90 of these birds circled above our heads and perched in the surrounding pine trees, waiting for their chance for an easy meal. At first one bird tentatively had a look and then they descended en-mass.
As I have said, an annual sight in my area, but I have not taken this bird for granted. Hopefully we have learnt from the past and will not persecute this magnificent creature to the verge of extinction again. Am I being naive?