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Third release of red kites takes place at Grizedale Forest
4:00pm Wednesday 8th August 2012 in News
A THIRD release of 30 red kites has taken place at Grizedale Forest today.
The Forestry Commission is spearheading a three-year project to reintroduce red kites into the region.
It is the first project of its kind and the last red kite reintroduction project in England. Red kites were successfully reintroduced to the heart of the Lake District in the summer of 2010 and again in 2011. A new wave of hatchlings from the Forestry Commission’s flagship breeding site in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire, were released into Cumbria’s skies this morning.
The latest group of juvenile raptors have spent a month gaining strength in a custom made pen at a secret location in Grizedale Forest.
An expert Forestry Commission team has cared for the young birds and fed them until they were ready to fly and fend for themselves.
Some of the birds are carrying radio transmitters to allow Forestry Commission wildlife rangers to monitor them following their release.
Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Numbers then recovered slowly thanks to the actions of local conservationists. The UK population is expanding and there are now thought to be over 1,000 pairs of the birds in the country.
Red kites are coloured chestnut red and have white patches under their wings. The wing span of fully fledged adults can be around five feet. They typically begin breeding in their second or third year and usually pair for life. The long term aim across the country is that the kites expand into other areas and eventually join together.
For more information about the Forestry Commission in the North West visit www.forestry.gov.uk/northwestengland The red kites also have their own dedicated Facebook page where people can report sightings of the birds at http://www.facebook.com/#!/GrizedaleRedKites