As a teenager, I went on a biology field trip to Borth on the west Wales coast. We had a minibus trip out to the forest to see if we could see one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds, the Red Kite, in its final, remnant population. We searched for hours and the only sighting we had was of a silhouette, high in the sky. They had been persecuted almost out of existence.
Subsequently, Red Kites have become the UK’s bird of the Century, after their population recovered due to reintroductions and pressure on their persecutors. Now, they’re frequently referred to as the M4 corridor bird, due to their spread in the Midlands. They’re adept scavengers.
I saw my first ever Red Kite in Devon during the first Covid lockdown. It had clearly sailed down an empty M4 and then an empty M5 in utter disbelief that there was no roadkill for it.
Here at RSPB Otmoor, I’m thrilled to see one flying low with a selection of Cormorants in the background.
Welcome back to your ancestral lands, Red Kite, may you flourish here forever.