Friday, 22 June 2007

Kites and eagles to be reintroduced to eastern Scotland

Over the next three years 30 Red Kites are to be released annually on private land on the outskirts of Aberdeen, Scotland, as the latest stage in efforts to reintroduce the species around the country. The birds will be wing-tagged and fitted with radio transmitters to track their progress, and RSPB Scotland hopes that the public will report sightings to help monitor their behaviour and well-being.

Populations of reintroduced Red Kites are thriving in southern and central England but the scheme has been less successful in Scotland, with reports of persecution persisting and kites failing to colonise new areas.

This latest initiative, which is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, the Aberdeen Countryside Project and other organisations, comes at the same time as a consignment of 15 White-tailed Eagle chicks arrives from Norway to help get another reintroduction programme off the ground. Up to 20 young eagles per year will be imported over four years for release in eastern Scotland.

The first batch of eaglets will be reared in special aviaries on Forestry Commission Scotland land in eastern Scotland before their release in the autumn, in an effort to bolster the breeding population in the west of the country which has been slow to expand beyond Skye and Mull. The news follows the launch of an Irish reintroduction project for the species in Co Kerry earlier this week.

Read more on the latest Red Kite reintroduction here.

Read more about the White-tailed Eagle project here.

Photo: Red Kite by Dominic Mitchell