Shot red kite flies free after recovery

Image caption,
The red kite bird has recovered and it now free again

A red kite which survived being shot five times at close range has been released back into the wild after six months' rehabilitation.

The bird was found severely wounded in Braco, Perthshire, in December 2009.

X-rays revealed the red kite had a broken wing and five air gun pellets lodged in its body.

Vets at the Scottish SPCA's rescue centre in Fife have been caring for the bird. It was released at Argaty Red Kites near Doune.

Centre manager Colin Seddon said it had received a series of operations and physiotherapy at the rescue centre to return it to full health.

"We can't be sure why this particular bird was shot, but we do know that it was deliberate," he said.

"To be able to shoot a bird five times would mean that you would have a very clear view of what you were aiming at."

Image caption,
The bird had been shot five times at close range

Mr Seddon it was "touch and go" whether the bird would ever be able to fly again.

"One wing was basically shattered and our vet had to use a metal fixator and pins to put it back together," he said.

Falconer Stewart Miller, from Raptor World, has been flying the kite for the past eight weeks to help build up its strength and fitness.

Mr Seddon added: "It's amazing to think that six months ago this bird had only the slimmest chance of survival and now here it is back in the wild where it belongs."

The kite has been tagged and its progress will be monitored.

Red kites were reintroduced to Scotland in 1989 after they were hunted to extinction.

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