A warning has been given about feeding red kites, a bird of prey, after complaints of meat being dropped on people's heads.

Since the reintroduction of red kites into the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural beauty in the 90s, after they were driven to near extinction, some people have been feeding the birds meat in their gardens. 

Oxford Mail: Close up of a red kite by John Morris.Close up of a red kite by John Morris.

The Chilterns Conservation Board has discouraged this in fear that it will impact the bird's behaviour and status, especially as the board has received complaints about scraps of meat dropping directly onto people’s heads.

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Oxford Mail: Photo of a red kite by Alan Shearman.Photo of a red kite by Alan Shearman.

The trust says that public opinion of the birds suffered after a 2-year-old who was scratched up by a Red Kite that stole his sandwich made headlines in 2019.

The six reasons the trust gave not to feed the birds were:

  1. Feeding encourages red kites to become bolder than they naturally would. They have sharp claws and a huge wingspan, so this could be threatening. 
  2. Feeding encourages high numbers of kites to gather in one area, impacting other wildlife.
  1. The scraps of uncooked and cooked meat that people feed red kites don’t present a balanced, healthy diet.
  2. Red kites can drop scraps of meat which is a health risk and attracts rats and vermin.
  3. Feeding discourages red kites from expanding their range.
  4. Red kites can feed and thrive successfully in their natural habitat without people's assistance, despite it helping when they were first introduced. 

Read more from this author

This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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