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Have you seen a red kite in Shropshire?

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David Gregory | 12:53 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

Red Kite in flight.

Springwatch is back and we're starting with a film on the return of the red kite. We're looking at the rump of the native population that was forced back into Wales after years of persecution. But following an intensive and long-running conservation effort red kites are making a comeback in England and we need your help to work out how well they are doing.

The kites left in Wales were a small population and some years in the 1930's only one female in the group managed to breed. But as numbers have grown they've started to spread from Wales into Shropshire. As far as we know the first successful pair to breed in Shropshire was in 2006 when a pair fledged two young. The first successful breeding of native birds in England for 130 years. Since then according to the Welsh Kite Trust;

In 2010, 17 nests were found, 14 were successful, and 31 young fledged. Since the first successful breeding in 2006, 68 young have flown from Shropshire nests.

As you can see from the picture kites have a distinctive, deep fork in their tails which makes them easy to distinguish from other birds of prey and the Trust would like you to tell them if you see one.

If you see a kite or a pair several times in the same place, or one going into a wood in the south-west Shropshire Hills they'd like to know. And they'd also like to hear from you if you see a single bird anywhere north or east of Church Stretton between March and June. Young chicks are where possible given wing tags to make identification easier so make a note if you see a tag on any bird you spot.

Red kites are legally protected so it is an offence to disturb them. But if you see one then get in touch with Leo Smith on 01588 638577. With your help we can start to learn more about the recovery of this beautiful bird that was almost driven to extinction.

You can watch my report for Midlands Today here.


  • Comment number 1.

    Myself and my daughter saw a Red Kyte near Felindre on May 29th and in Llannbister on May 30th in Mid-Wales

  • Comment number 2.

    We saw a red kite soaring above us on Wednesday 1st June about 14.00hrs when driving the road between Bishop's Castle and Clun. I live near Kington North Herefordshire and we have seen a steady increase in the number of Red Kites over the hills around here in the last three years or so - indications that the spread from Mid Wales across the Offa's Dyke is well underway.


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