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Wildlife Chronicles

Red Kite News

My efforts in monitoring the Red Kite population on behalf of the Welsh Kite Trust in my small corner of mid-Wales for the 2008 season is reaching a conclusion. I started off well at the beginning of the season with ten nesting pairs but I lost five along the way due no doubt to a variety of reasons ranging from the vagaries of the Welsh weather, predation by corvids (or raptors), or possibly egg infertility. Whatever the reasons for the failures I finished off with five nests which produced a total of nine chicks three of which were collected from three different nests at different locations to eventually end up in Ireland as part of a five year project to reintroduce the species to that island. It was sad in a way to see ‘my’ chicks taken from their Welsh homeland but my reservations are far outweighed by the importance I attach to being a part of this exciting project. I understand from Tony Cross that 53 Red Kite chicks from Wales are now in holding pens in Ireland awaiting release into their new home later this month. I do hope they will be alright.

Of course this would not be possible without the help and good will of the Welsh farmers and landowners who have given their blessing to this project and allowed chicks to be taken from nests on their land. I can only speak about those individuals with whom I have been liasing with that I am personally deeply indebted to them as no doubt the people of the whole of Ireland will be in due course when the released kites will become established. In the case of my nests Tony Cross only removed the biggest and strongest chicks thus allowing an opportunity for the weakest sibling to survive on ‘extra rations’ of food provided by the parent birds and I can confirm that in the lapse of just a few weeks the increased weight of one monitored chick has increased significantly. One nest where the remaining chick of a brood of two weighed in at 495 gms on the 12th June 2008 when it was again measured on the 1st July its weight was 910 gms a gain in weight of 415 gms. In fact all the remaining chicks on my patch are doing well. They have also been fitted with wings tags in order to monitor their movements in the future. This year (2008) the tag colours are black on both wings the left tag represents the area of origin which is black for the Welsh region and the right tag the year. For a fuller explanation of wing tags I recommend you visit the Gigrin Farm Kite Feeding Station website on www.gigrin.co.uk

Ringing and wing tagging Red Kite chicks

Dan Brown fitting wing tag on a chick

Dan Brown measuring wing length

Dan Brown fitting metal ring on chick A8

'Job Done' Tony Cross & Dan with tagged chicks

Dan Brown with tagged chick A7
Elfyn Pugh
Elfyn Pugh with tagged chicks A7 & A8

Elfyn PughThis article has been written by Elfyn Pugh who runs a bird tour venture in mid-Wales called ‘Red Kite Safaris’.