Red Kites are becoming a pest - don't feed them, say conservation groups

A Red Kite mobs a young herring gull at a landfill site near Didcot Power Station to try to make it drop food from its beak

Cathy Rose of the Chilterns Conservation Board

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

BIRD watchers have been asked to stop feeding Red Kites because the creatures have become too successful in Oxfordshire.

Snatching fledglings out of nests, chasing smaller birds for food and hovering in an “intimidating” way over homes and gardens, conservation groups have said the once-rare species may have become reliant on food left out by its admirers.

Hunted almost to extinction by farmers and poisoned by pesticides, the Red Kite was brought back from the brink of extinction when 93 were introduced into the Chilterns in 1989.

The Chilterns Conservation Board now estimates there are 1,000 breeding pairs in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But the board and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) say they are receiving a growing number of calls from worried residents about the large raptors swooping down on garden bird tables and school playgrounds.

THE Chilterns conservation project has been such a success that the UK now has about eight per cent of the global population
In the bird’s former strongholds in Germany, France and Spain, kites are rapidly declining, mainly due to continued use of illegal poisons and land use changes.

Like many birds of prey, they were heavily persecuted in the UK until they were almost extinct, with just a few pairs left in Welsh valleys.

Cathy Rose, of the Chilterns Conservation Board, said: “People are worried they are scaring away garden birds and coming worryingly close to pets.

“They are mainly scavengers but they can kill mice and rats, things of that size.”

She said the largest animal she had heard of being taken by a kite was a squirrel.

She said people were leaving out raw meat like chicken, and some bird lovers were even buying meat especially for kites.

She added that the board had been urging people not to feed them for several years but added: “People are ignoring the advice and every year the number of complaints rises.”

RSPB member Lyn Ebbs backed the appeal and said Red Kites had been seen taking fledgling lapwings out of their nests at the society’s Otmoor reserve, where a programme is attempting to revive the endangered species.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.


Our top stories

Cyclist sexually harassed two women in Oxford

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:57pm Friday 19th September 2014

A CYCLIST who sexually harassed two women this morning is being hunted by police.

Kennington roundabout contraflow switch put back by a month due to fragile cables

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County Council is spending £6m on turning the Kennington roundabout at the southern end of Abingdon Road into a “hamburger” style junction

3:19pm Friday 19th September 2014

A CHANGEOVER in the traffic system at Oxford’s Kennington Roundabout is to be delayed by four weeks, to mid-October.

First OxfordOxford festival cancelled a week before event

Oxford Mail:

1:50pm Friday 19th September 2014

THE inaugural OxfordOxford festival has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales and uncertainty with a booked artist, organisers have said today.

Alcoholic jailed for ‘sickening’ attack in street

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 19th September 2014

AN ALCOHOLIC who kicked a woman’s head like she was “taking a penalty” has been jailed.

‘Co-operation is key to ending child sex gangs’

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 19th September 2014

A HOME Office minister has admitted that social services and police officers should have been co-operating “for years” to stamp out child sexual exploitation.

Northern Gateway ‘will increase traffic by half’

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 19th September 2014

MORNING traffic on a main route into the city could increase by almost half if a major development in North Oxford goes ahead, it has been claimed.

Comments

Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree