Befriend a Kite Scheme 

This scheme was launched by Friends of Red Kites in 2011 to follow on from the success of the popular Northern Kites 'Adopt a Kite' scheme.

Kites are not usually allocated until we know they have at least survived their first winter; some kites may never be recorded again after being tagged just before fledging the previous summer.

As radio collars are not fitted to chicks in the nest, we are reliant on visual identification only, so sightings of individual kites can be rare. There are also only a limited number of kites available for the scheme each year.

The scheme is open to Primary Schools and above. Schools who apply to 'Befriend' a Kite will be allocated a tagged and active kite where available, for which they then choose a name. Names in the past have been highly inventive, often reflecting the colour of the kites or the name of their school, but sometimes something entirely different, for example Fantastic Flying Fiona and Jammy Dodger.

Each school that 'Befriends' a kite is offered a one-off Presentation and some activity worksheets. Once schools have named their individual kite, they are given a framed Certificate, giving details of their kite and including a pledge to support and protect kites and wildlife in general, a brief history of their red kite so far, and where available, a framed photo of their red kite. We will also issue each school a twice-yearly update of their kite ,when seen, and our kites in general.

We hope our scheme will continue to inspire the children of today. 

Marian Williams, Befriend a Kite scheme administrator.

If your school is interested in the scheme Marian can be contacted

via the "Contact Us" page on this website.

 Kite chick  FoRK archive

A red kite chick and a tagged kite in flight

 Red Kite  Paul Ratcliffe

  2014      10th Anniversary Celebrations

2014 was a double Anniversary year for our kites - 10 years since the launch of Northern Kites and 5 years since the launch of Friends of Red Kites (FoRK).

There were many different celebratory activities (reported elsewhere) during the year, but our major event was at Sage Gateshead on 5th July 2014.

We invited all our Befriend a Kite schools to participate in our celebrations by providing us with kite themed artwork, poems, acrostics and rhymes etc. and three of our schools responded with a fantastic selection, which was all on display for the day on the Sage main concourse.

The schools which participated were:-

 Ebchester C of E Primary School - Kite: D4 Zola

High Spen Primary School - Kite: E3 Fireball

Newburn Manor Primary School - Kite: D6 Skyla

We very much appreciated their hard work and expertise, which elicited many  positive comments from the public on the day. Thank you


 BaK Schools at Sage Gateshead   Saturday 5th July 2014


Ebchester C of E Primary School - Kite: D4 Zola 

 High Spen 1

High Spen 2 

 Kite  sculpture High Spen

High Spen 3 

High Spen Primary School - Kite: E3 Fireball 

 Marian Williams Sage

Marian Williams     Coordinator for the BaK scheme.

   Newburn 1  

Newburn 2 

 Newburn 3

 Newburn Manor Primary School - Kite: D6 Skyla

 BaK Schools Update  -  May 2014

Amble First School,  Northumberland

Following the visit on 7 March , Amble First School was presented with their Certificate, a Photo and a copy of their kite's history.  John Treherne, former Director of Music in Gateshead Schools kindly agreed to present three children with their framed records.  Their  kite is called  Rocket!

Amble BaK presentation_JA 

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

On Friday 7 March, Judy Summerson and June Atkinson visited the school, to tell the children about the red kite which they are going to befriend.


Image courtesy of Ron Hindhaugh

Amble First School - Judy in Assembly 

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Their red kite is D5, but the children have held  a competition to decide what their kite is to be called. 

On Friday, 4 April.  their Headmistress, Ms Jenkins, wrote: 

I should have an answer for you by the end of school today, we are having an extensive vote  - as it is our Easter event at school, parents, grandparents, staff and even the vicar have voted. Just waiting for classes to do so this afternoon.  Will contact you before 4pm.

 Amble First School vote

 Amble 1st School vote


Shortly after school ended for the holidays, we received this message:

 After a lot of discussion and voting, we have settled on Rocket the Red Kite.  Hope you haven't got one of these already as it came to a tie breaker and our other winner was Red Mist - sounds a bit angry!

Next term, the children will receive their official Certificate, complete with Rocket's name.


January 2014

We have had a further seven schools join our scheme over the last 18 months
Once again the names the schools have chosen for their kites have been interesting:-

High Spen Primary School named their kite Fireball WTE3

Here, two pupils proudly hold their Certificate and photo of Fireball, presented by Judy Summerson.

High Spen receive Certificate

For nine months the class at High Spen were heavily involved with a project called 'Red Kite Sensations', which included visits from a FoRK presenter, an artist and a tree climber who showed the children how he climbed the tree to collect young kites for tagging. They did various outings, including a visit to a roost watch, and were also helped with various crafts and activities that included making nests, proggy mats and pictures of birds of prey, finally making kites to fly.

Milecastle Primary School named their kite Mile Star WTE4

At the school's presentation, they all sang an 'Environmental' hymn and were planning a wildlife project later in the year. Their kite has been one of the most travelled of our young kites, being seen on the Black Isle in Scotland in early 2013 and then in Lanarkshire in April 2013.

Prudhoe Castle First School named their kite Red Sarah WTE8

The whole school were involved in the naming of their kite, chosen for a member of staff who was leaving. They are keen to continue with kite activities.

Wardley Primary School named their kite Geordie WTE9

This school does a kite project every two years, and twice they have sent classes on a kite safari to see kites in the Derwent Park.

They also borrowed our giant kite mosaic, and a  group of very excited 6 and 7 year olds tackled the problem of assembling the kite with the use of numbered identification grids.

Wardley School - mosaic

Sylvia Jones introduced the project to the Wardley School pupils.

WArdley School - mosaic

The children get down to the task of building the kite.  Does this tile fit here?

Wardley School mosaic

Fortunately,  the weather co-operated and the task of building the kite began.

Wardley School mosaic

Wardley pupils rose to the challenge of constructing the Red Kite Mosaic with  care, skill and understanding of the  steps required to ease the 250 polystyrene tiles into place on their school playground.

Photographs were taken and the other classes came to admire their work. This was a very demanding problem-solving exercise for such young children but they managed it brilliantly.

Sele First School named their kite Swift WTF0

The Presentation was given to several classes who had already done some preparatory work on red kites. The whole school were involved in a money-raising competition for naming their kite with Friends of Red Kites being the beneficiary. The school kindly forwards our newsletters to staff, parents and governors.

Kenton School, Newcastle named their kite Reggis WTF1

The re-introduction of the red kite is part of the school's Btec syllabus and it is a very environmentally- aware school.

The school named their kite after a young student from Guinea who is popular with everyone and just loves wildlife and the natural environment.

Whittonstall First School named their kite Trunkle WT T2

Trunkle is an unusual kite as she actually comes from the Argaty, Central Scotland project, but as she had paired up with one of our kites WT84 Shiver, successfully raising 5 chicks in three years, we added  her to our 'Befriend a Kite' scheme. The school also held a money-raising competition, to name their kite and the name chosen was made up to represent the Scottish origins of their kite.
Sadly, shortly after this, her mate was found dead, and Trunkle has only been seen once since then.
The school were planning a wildlife project for later in the year.

 2009 -2013  BaK Schools

Sylvia Jones visited Ebchester C of E Primary School to present the pupils with their Certificate and Photograph. The children found it easy to choose 'Zola' as the name for wing tag (WT)D4.

 Zola is an elderly South African gentleman who visits the school and does 'Citizenship' with them. He was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela for a time. He was very excited and enthusiastic when he first saw red kites near the school.

Ebchester School 

Emmanuel College, Gateshead named their new kite, WTE2 'Bomber Bird', they had been one of the Adopt a Kite schools, but sadly lost their kite WT40 'Ziggy' to poisoning last year.

Emmanuel College 

We were pleased to be able to offer them a replacement kite, as the College has always been very supportive of the red kite re-introduction programme. Judy Summerson went along to present them with their Certificate and Photograph.   This happy event was also covered in the Newcastle Journal.

Clover Hill School, Whickham were also getting a replacement kite as their previous kite WT36 'Fire Flight' had been found dead in February 2011, although the circumstances were not suspicious. They named their new kite, WTC5 'Fire'.

Hexham Middle School were offered a kite, as part of our 'Think Kite, Act Right' campaign to raise awareness of red kites in Northumberland .

Hexham Middle School

This area is where most of our poisoning of kites has occurred. Following a vote, the name chosen for their kite WTD0 was 'Yoko'.

Newburn Manor Primary School Newcastle was a school that had missed out on getting an 'Adopt a Kite', so once our scheme had been set up, we were pleased to be able to offer them WTD6 which they have named 'Skyla'.

St. Peter's R.C. Primary School, Gateshead made contact with us through our website asking about adopting a kite, just as we were beginning to develop the 'Befriend a Kite' scheme, and we were eventually able to offer them WTC3.   

St. Peter's School

The school initially chose the name 'Peter' after their school name, but then after finding out WTC3 was a female (having paired up with an untagged kite this summer, and successfully fledging one chick), the name eventually chosen was   'Petra'

All the schools were delighted to receive their presentation, framed photograph, and kite certificate.

This scheme in the past, has been a great way to involve children at an early age so they become engaged with not just the kites, but with wildlife in general, and the importance of taking care of our countryside, which will hopefully start a lifelong interest.

The original scheme inspired schools in many ways, including painting and drawing kites and school visits to see the kites in the Derwent Valley.   Lingey House Primary School, Felling, Gateshead created this beautiful collage of their kite, Ruby.


Rowlands Gill Primary included the image of a Red Kite in the design for their new school badge.


Fellside School had a gazebo designed for their playground which included glass panels depicting beautiful images of kites, as seen here.

 Fellside School gazebo

Images courtesy of our archives