Photo by Willy Houwen
Red kites had their best breeding season ever this year. A minimum of forty two chicks were known to have fledged from nineteen nests with a further five nests that had progressed to the incubation stage, sadly failing. The kites almost certainly benefitted from the Government’s Covid19 restrictions which limited people’s activity during the early incubation period in April. A dry and warm spring and early summer would also have benefitted the birds.
Those same Covid19 restrictions did not allow FoRK to carry out any monitoring from March 24th(BTO directive) but with the easing of Lockdown in the middle of May we were allowed to carry out the finding and monitoring of nests. A significant number of these nests were reported to us by local residents, so a big thank you goes to them.
Ringing and wing tagging of kite chicks at nest sites took place in June with nine nests visited. Sixteen chicks were wing tagged with a further seven chicks ringed only, they were too small to fit wing tags.
One of the nests contained a brood of four chicks. This is only the second time this has occurred in our region. The first time was in 2015.
The summer’s breeding success continued the story of a steady improvement in our regions red kites' fortunes over the last couple of years. With last winter’s encouraging roost numbers and a significant increase in the number of kite sightings outside the Derwent Valley, FoRK remain optimistic, even though it is disappointing that our birds are still suffering from persecution, that this will continue and look forward to witnessing the spectacular sight of large numbers of these birds coming into roost from September onwards and throughout the autumn and winter.