Aberdeen Red Kites (ARK) is a three year project to reintroduce kites to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 30 birds were released in 2007, 35 in 2008 and another 30-35 in 2009. Many of the birds have been named by schools and local business. The aim of the project is to establish a breeding population in one of the largest remaining gaps for red kites in Britain.
The red kites are continuing to spread their wings and are travelling all over Scotland. In addition to the two birds mentioned in my last blog, another five have been spotted outwith the Aberdeen area in the last few weeks. Kite 02 has also headed down to Dumfries & Galloway where it has hooked up with an untagged kite on the Rhins of Galloway. Bird 02 was named Annie Hope by Argaty Red Kite Feeding Station and has found its way to a regular favourite place for wintering kites. Kite 26 is still down there and is roosting and feeding with the main population. Meanwhile Kites 01 and 23 have headed south to join 27 in Central Scotland, and have both been to feed at the Argaty feeding station near Doune.
Another two birds have bucked the trend and headed northwest to Nethy Bridge, and appear to have settled there for the winter.
Closer to home, the main roost of birds on the outskirts of Aberdeen is doing well. The birds have settled in to their new surroundings and even started to moult through some adult feathers on their heads as they enter their 'teenage' months. They seem to spend their days showing off their acrobatic flying whilst searching for food. They're early to their beds and late up in the morning - I never got away with that as a teenager! With the weather certainly getting colder it will be fascinating to see how the birds adapt and what they do next?