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  • "I can't believe a kite would be so stupid as to take on a Merlin helicopter. It's the only explanation as you can hear them coming from a mile away, so they don't exactly sneak up behind the kites!"
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RAF may shoot red kites after helicopter bird strikes

A red kite

A red kite

First published in News

RAF Benson says it may have to shoot red kites after two military helicopters hit birds in the last two months.

The base was granted a licence by Natural England last year to shoot the birds but it has not yet used it.

Wing Commander Colin West, the base commander, said: “A growing number of bird strikes, coupled with the size and nature of the red kite, mean that the threat to aircraft safety has increased.”

The birds, reintroduced into The Chilterns in a conservation project after becoming extinct, have become increasingly widespread across the area.

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