It is amazing to remember that when I started watching wildlife back in the 1980’s the Red Kite population had reduced to less than 20 birds in one area of West Wales. This was largely down to persecution and ignorance. Tales abounded about Kites taking all sorts of prey including sheep and small animals. In fact there live on carrion (that is meat that is already dead) and worms. Occasionally they may take small mammals such as mice and rats but scientific studies have shown that they cannot handle anything larger unless it is already dead.
From these dark days of the 1980’s when many presumed the species would die out in the UK due to in-breeding the picture has changed dramatically. A program of re-introductions into different parts of the country has been very successful and there are now reckoned to be around 2000 breeding pairs in the UK. These attractive birds can now be seen and enjoyed in many parts of the country.
These pictures were taken in Wales recently at the Nant yr Arian feeding station.