Air base is told killing birds will not solve danger threat

A red kite in flight

A red kite in flight

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

BIRD watchers have warned RAF Benson will get no benefit from shooting red kites out of the sky.

The military helicopter air base has said it may need to kill some of the birds of prey for safety reasons after two flew into aircraft in the past two months.

The base got permission to kill the birds from Natural England in June last year. But experts have said more of the birds will come and replace any killed.

Ian Lewington, Oxford Ornithological Society’s bird recorder for the county, said: “If it is that much of a problem they have to get rid of all of them. You cannot just get rid of two of them.

“It is a void – it will be filled. They are opportunist, that is why they are so successful.”

Between 1989 and 1994, 93 fledgling kites were released in the Chilterns where the birds had been hunted to extinction.

It is thought there are now more than 1,000 pairs in the area.

Tom Stevenson, chairman of Benson Ecological Study Team, also said more of the birds would come if any where killed.

The 73-year-old, of Westfield Road, Benson, added: “Obviously we are concerned about the safety of aircraft. But I do worry a little bit about whether they have gone over the top.”

Natural England issued the RAF base a licence last year so it could kill red kites for flight safety purposes.

Red kites have hit helicopters at the base four times in the past three years – two of which have happened in the past two months.

Wing Commander Colin West, the officer commanding operations wing at RAF Benson, said: “Thankfully to date, we have not used it and we hope that we don’t have to.

“However, a growing number of bird strikes, coupled with the size and nature of the red kite, mean that the threat to aircraft safety at RAF Benson has increased.”

The base is urging local people not to feed the birds as it draws them to the area.

In a letter sent to villagers last month, the base, RSPB, and Natural England, said: “We want to ensure the future of the red kites around RAF Benson, but we have to put the safety of the aircrews and the surrounding human population first.

“In order to help us protect both people and kites, please do not feed red kites in your garden and please encourage your friends and neighbours to help and do the same.”

• Our top stories:

UPDATE: Car fire and oil spillage closes A40 near Ducklington and A34 car fire cause delays

Oxford Mail: A40 alert

4:03pm Friday 19th December 2014

A CAR fire and oil spillage closed the A40 westbound causing severe delays.

Motorcyclist 'punches pensioner and hits his car windscreen with helmet' after Cutteslowe crash

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

A PENSIONER was “severely” injured when he was attacked in his car by a motorcyclist in Cutteslowe, police said.

UPDATE: Body found after motorhome fire at caravan site near Chipping Norton

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:30am Friday 19th December 2014

A BODY was found after a fire at a caravan site motorhome.

What brilliant picture is in our Oxford Mail Advent Calendar today?

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

Oxford United striker John Campbell is keen to make his mark at Hartlepool

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.

‘New £9.2m Leys pool’s too small for contests’

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 19th December 2014

SWIMMING competitions planned for the new £9.2m pool in Blackbird Leys could be at risk due to lack of space, it has been warned.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:38am Tue 10 Jun 14

Myron Blatz says...

Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food. Main issue here is that it isn't the birds to blame, but humans - who re-introduced Red Kites to the area, and created the problem. As for seagululls, they love rubbish tips and places where people live - which is kind of weird, for a bird usually associated with the seaside.
Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food. Main issue here is that it isn't the birds to blame, but humans - who re-introduced Red Kites to the area, and created the problem. As for seagululls, they love rubbish tips and places where people live - which is kind of weird, for a bird usually associated with the seaside. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

7:54am Tue 10 Jun 14

paddy173 says...

I think it is a shame that the RAF might have to start killing Red Kites, but the safety of aircrews and people on the ground far outweighs the loss of some Red Kites. Is there any way they could be scared away by a hawker(?) or some other means
I think it is a shame that the RAF might have to start killing Red Kites, but the safety of aircrews and people on the ground far outweighs the loss of some Red Kites. Is there any way they could be scared away by a hawker(?) or some other means paddy173
  • Score: 0

8:45am Tue 10 Jun 14

Gezz123 says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food. Main issue here is that it isn't the birds to blame, but humans - who re-introduced Red Kites to the area, and created the problem. As for seagululls, they love rubbish tips and places where people live - which is kind of weird, for a bird usually associated with the seaside.
"Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food."
Benefit scroungers. They'll be asking for Sky soon. (birds...sky...got it?)
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food. Main issue here is that it isn't the birds to blame, but humans - who re-introduced Red Kites to the area, and created the problem. As for seagululls, they love rubbish tips and places where people live - which is kind of weird, for a bird usually associated with the seaside.[/p][/quote]"Red Kites, like seagulls and foxes, have become lazy, and go where there is easy take-away food." Benefit scroungers. They'll be asking for Sky soon. (birds...sky...got it?) Gezz123
  • Score: 1

9:37pm Fri 13 Jun 14

d_1951 says...

So, the RSPB and "English Nature" have still not come up with a solution to the problem they have caused.

"The astonishing turnabout began in 1989 when red kite chicks were first brought from Spain and Sweden to the Chilterns as part of a species recovery programme run by English Nature and the RSPB. English Nature's Nigel Snell, who lives in Henley, said: "Their reintroduction became a flagship project for us. They are wonderful birds and should be here anyway."" .. from http://www.oxfordmai
l.co.uk/archive/1998
/06/15/6639645.Red_k
ite_is_on_fast_road_
to_recovery/

Let's hope the English Nature and the RSPB nutters responsible for putting lives at risk are held to account.
So, the RSPB and "English Nature" have still not come up with a solution to the problem they have caused. "The astonishing turnabout began in 1989 when red kite chicks were first brought from Spain and Sweden to the Chilterns as part of a species recovery programme run by English Nature and the RSPB. English Nature's Nigel Snell, who lives in Henley, said: "Their reintroduction became a flagship project for us. They are wonderful birds and should be here anyway."" .. from http://www.oxfordmai l.co.uk/archive/1998 /06/15/6639645.Red_k ite_is_on_fast_road_ to_recovery/ Let's hope the English Nature and the RSPB nutters responsible for putting lives at risk are held to account. d_1951
  • Score: -2

Comments are closed on this article.

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