Kites ‘pose no threat’ to lambs - RSPB

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THE Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has moved to reassure local farmers that red kites do not pose a danger to livestock.

Kites are once again making themselves at home in Northern Ireland after an absence of 200 years. And with the lamb season now in full swing, the RSPB has advised farmers that these birds are scavengers, preferring to dine on worms, scraps and mice.

Adam McClure, RSPB red kite officer said: “These birds of prey lack the power, strength and speed to take anything larger than a young rabbit, never mind a lamb.

“Appearances may be deceiving, but the red kite is actually a bit of a wimp. These birds may look amazing wheeling high above, but they do not have the size, power or the agility to take prey on the move. Kites can be lazy too, if they can get a meal without killing, so much the better,” Mr McClure concluded.

Red kites were reintroduced to Northern Ireland over a three year period between 2008-10, in a project run by RSPB NI in partnership with the Welsh Kite Trust and the Golden Eagle Trust in the Republic of Ireland. The birds have now begun to breed successfully and there are currently thought to be 70-80 red kites in the Province.

More details about identifying red kites, their territory and feeding habits can be found in a new comprehensive eight-page guide. Northern Ireland Red Kites is available now, free from the RSPB. To get a copy contact 02890 491547 or email redkiteni@rspb.org.uk