Red kites are magnificent birds of prey. They were reintroduced to north east England by the funded ‘Northern Kites’ project after an absence of 170 years.
Ninety-four young red kites were released in the lower Derwent Valley between 2004 and 2006 as part of this project to help save them from persecution and extinction in the UK.
When the red kites were released, they were each fitted with uniquely numbered and colour-coded, lightweight wing tags to help identify them in the wild. The first red kite chick hatched in a nest near to Nine-Arches Viaduct in 2006 and was named Geordie.
Sadly, despite being protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, we still do not have a sustainable red kite population due, we fear, to the continued persecution of the kites, particularly in south Northumberland and on the Durham moors.
The Friends of Red Kites (FoRK) was formed when the Northern Kites project finished in 2009. It is purely voluntary and continues with the conservation and monitoring of the species whilst encouraging community involvement with the work that they do.
Our objectives are: