RED kites have bred in Cumbria for the first time in more than 200 years.
The Forestry Commission team behind the Grizedale red kite reintroduction project has confirmed that a pair of birds produced three young in the Lake District forest.
Staff and a small team of volunteers have been monitoring the progress of the birds released between 2010 and 2012.
A nest was discovered this summer and, with it, the news that three chicks have successfully hatched.
Forestry Commission ecologist Tom Dearnley said: “This is great news for the birds. We have been monitoring their every movement and it’s very satisfying to now have the first confirmed chicks.”
Iain Yoxall, wildlife ranger at Grizedale, who led the reintroduction project, has been working with volunteers to monitor the progress of the 90 kites that were released.
The birds were all wing-tagged to show that they were part of the Grizedale project and when they were released.
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Iain said: “It is hugely rewarding to see the first confirmed chicks.
“We have been monitoring their progress and were able to ring them and add wing tags. This will help us to follow the chicks once they fledge and leave the nest.”
Ken Hindmarch, one of the volunteers who have been monitoring the birds and who helped find the nest, said: “The buzz of seeing the return to breeding in Cumbria, after more than 200 years, has given us all a lift.”
This is the first confirmed breeding of red kites in Cumbria since 1807.
Members of the public have been following the progress of the birds, and adding their own sightings to the Grizedale Red Kites Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GrizedaleRedKites.