RSPB needs your eyes on the skies to help spot Red Kites

Red Kite  - PIC CREDIT Neal Stephens
Red Kite - PIC CREDIT Neal Stephens

Have you spotted a majestic red kite in the skies above Tyrone?

RSPB NI is reminding members of the public to report sightings of this amazing bird of prey as we enter the 2018 breeding season, 10 years after they were reintroduced to Northern Ireland.

Last year, phone calls and emails to them resulted in two new territories being discovered and the RSPB NI are keen to remind people about the importance of reporting their chance encounters with kites.

Red kites are magnificent birds of prey which were sadly persecuted to extinction more than 200 years ago because people mistakenly saw them as a threat to game and livestock. They are medium-sized raptors that primarily feed on dead animals, but can hunt small mammals, crows and rooks. They are reddish brown with black wingtips and a silver grey head, usually seen slowly flapping their long wings or using their distinctive V-shaped forked tail like a rudder. Most in NI have been fitted with a tag on each wing to help with identification.

RSPB NI RKites Project Officer Noreen Gallagher said: “Although we have a dedicated team of volunteers diligently monitoring our small red kite population, sightings from members of the public are incredibly valuable in highlighting new territories we may not already know about.”

The RSPB NI is appealing to the public to report all their red kite sightings to redkiteni@rspb.org.uk with the date, time and location of the sighting; the wing tag colours; and the wing tag letter or number combination, if possible.