Welcome to the first of our blog updates on the Red Kite Reintroduction Project. It will follow the project’s highs and lows, and track the many excitements and dramas that we face bringing back these beautiful birds from extinction here in Northern Ireland.
Adam McClure will be your guide for the next few months as we look at what this project is and why it means so much to us here in RSPB.
"I have worked on the Red Kite Reintroduction Project since it began. I started as a volunteer and am now the Project Officer. It has been a real privilege to work on the first reintroduction project ever undertaken in Northern Ireland. It was inspired by other red kite reintroductions which have been taking place across the UK now for almost 20 years.
The reintroductions have taken place over a period of three years. Each year, we would travel over to Wales to get 20 chicks, rear them until they were ready to be released into the wild, and then, for a few weeks after that, feed them until they were able to fend for themselves.
After that, like anxious parents we would monitor and track them, ensuring they were well, until their tracking devices were discarded with the spring moult. A new generation of kite chicks was then reintroduced and needed looked after and the cycle began again.
Year three was especially exciting as the kites who had been reintroduced in year one had their first chicks: our first chicks which were Norn Iron reared!
This year is the third year we have had a successful breeding season.
Red kites are part of that suite of birds which were once a regular feature of our countryside and were persecuted into extinction. Their return to our skies fills everyone with hope. They are the clearest indication that with some assistance nature will return. Nature is a resilient, reliable source, but needs our help if it is to thrive and survive.
Stepping Up for Nature is what the RSPB does best – with your help we can do it even better!"