If you encounter a kite incident, alive or dead, please call 077 900 85659 and let FoRK know as soon as possible.     We will respond immediately.


 We have had 76,659 visitors so far.


Very Sad News 

Red Philip (Wing Tag 15) was found injured on the Gibside Estate just before the New Year, he was taken to a Vets in Morpeth and the decision was made that his injuries were so severe it was agreed that the only option would be to put him to sleep. Red Philip was born in 2004 and was part of the very first re-introduction of kites in the Derwent Valley. He has raised several chicks in his time which are still in the area. Philip has had a colourful life being hit by a car and flying into a window requiring rehab on both occasions. A full history can be seen on the Friends of Red Kites website. 



National Red Kite Roost Check 

On Sunday 12th January 2020 members of the FoRK monitoring team will take part in a National Red Kite Roost Check and will count red kites at known roost sites in Gateshead's Derwent Valley. Other regions in the UK with red kite populations will also count red kites at roost during this weekend and a total number will be calculated. This total will be submitted to the European Red Kite Group along with all the other countries in Europe holding red kites so that the total number of roosting red kites can be determined. FoRK are inviting members of the public to assist in this survey. To register an interest please email Ken Sanderson at: admin@friendsofredkites.org.uk. More details will be sent out nearer the time of the event. 

FoRK have been working closely with the Eliot Smith Contemporary Dance Company which is producing a performance in November called "On Red Kites". See News and features for further information. 

Friends of Red Kites join the Northern England Raptor Forum  

We are delighted to announce that we have joined, and will work closely with, the Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) for the benefit of raptor conservation in the region.

The Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) was established in 2006 and now represents 10 regional Raptor Study Groups across northern England. Using the comprehensive evidence collected by licensed fieldworkers each year on the breeding success of raptors and Raven in upland areas the group's data provides fundamental information for species' conservation and protection. An Annual Review of the data is published and all records are submitted to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.

NERF hosts an annual Raptor Conference for volunteer and professional fieldworkers to draw attention to the latest research and information on the well-being, or otherwise, of raptor populations. The organisation is uniquely placed in having an evidence-based view of the current true status of raptors in the region and uses this to comment on topical issues of species protection and conservation.

See: https://raptorforum.wordpress.com/ for further details about NERF.

It's clear that many of the issues faced by our red kites are shared by other birds of prey in the area and we look forward to working closely with NERF by exchanging information and expertise.


Presentations Team

Harold Dobson Judy Summerson

Our Presentation Team is willing to consider any request for an illustrated Talk about the work of Friends of Red Kites, subject to availability of presenters. We have a basic minimum charge of £25 on a sliding scale, depending on the size of the group. Travelling expenses are requested. FoRK is no longer funded by any external group.

Contact us through our website, or contact Judy Summerson,

whose details can be found here: http://www.friendsofredkites.org.uk/page4.htm 


The Red Kite
The red kite is one of Britain's rarest and most spectacular birds, especially at close quarters. Between 2004 and 2007 the Northern Kites Project re-introduced 94 red kites into the lower Derwent Valley.  This Project was unique; whereas the previous ones had been carried out in rural areas, this one brought back the kites to a semi-urban environment, close to the large conurbation of Gateshead and its neighbour on the north bank of the River Tyne, Newcastle.   People can now walk to admire the red kites in the Lower Derwent Valley and yet, in the distance, they can see the silver roof of The Sage Gateshead.


Image  Wing Tag D4 Paul Danielson

Image: Derek Bilton
Kite in flight 

It was in 2006 that red kites began to breed in the region for the first time after an absence of 170 years. The core area for the kites is the Lower Derwent Valley but  as the population increases they are slowly becoming more widely distributed.

 Images courtesy of  Carol Farthing-Dunn

When the Northern Kites Project finished in July 2009, the Friends of Red Kites group was established.


Image courtesy of Ken Smith

Go-North East kindly gave the Group a Red Kite Bus for four hours, and we held a rolling Launch at Lintzford Garden Centre and at Gibside.  The co-operation and support of Staff was much appreciated. 

We continue  working to conserve Wildlife, the Economy, working with our local Partners and encouraging people to become the Guardians of these majestic Red Kites, which are so welcome.

An up-dated, detailed and extended Guide for the Red Kite Trail is now available.

This and many other leaflets can be obtained from The Thornley Woodland Visitor Centre.