NATURE lovers across North Yorkshire, County Durham and beyond can now rest assured that Red Kites are thriving in the region after a research group found significant numbers of the majestic birds living right on our doorstep.
After conducting a study of Red Kites on Sunday 9th January, 20 Friends of Red Kites (FoRK) volunteers surveyed eight locations in the Derwent Valley and beyond to find out how many populate our magnificent landscape.
In all, the nature group managed to locate 94 red kites and now they say the population is increasing.
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Ken Sanderson, ForRK Chairman and Kite Officer, said: “This is a fantastic result that supports the notion that our Red Kite population is still increasing. Let’s hope the numbers continue into the breeding season.”
Investigating red kites, FoRK found two headquarters: one near Hamsterley Mill, where 71 red kites were counted, and the other further down the Derwent Valley, just off Derwent Walk.
Despite the encouraging signs of population increase, the volunteers also noted that three birds may have been shot due to their damaged feathers.
Mr Sanderson added: “For those sites where zero or one or two Red Kites remain on the territory, this is still valuable information that adds to our knowledge of kite behaviour. It was noted with concern that three red kites had damaged feathers, raising suspicions that they may have been shot.”
According to Fork, many raptors are social, especially outside of the breeding season, but the red kite, its close relative the black kite, and some of the vultures take this behavior to the extreme where communal winter roosts are typical.
They say that in a wide area, the majority of red kites come to the same roost at dusk. Red kites are likely to benefit from loose community gatherings, allowing them to forage in loose groups the following morning. Roosts can also serve as a place for young Red Kites to interact with potential future mates.
If you know of a Red Kite roost, contact FoRK at www.friendsofredkites.org.uk.
You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for the latest information from the area by clicking here.
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