Red Kites in Shropshire

If you see evidence of breeding Red Kites, we would like to know please. Contact Leo Smith: leo@leosmith.org.uk or 01694 720296.

Red Kites almost became extinct in Wales in the 1930s, but the population slowly increased, reaching 100 pairs in 1993. They have spread since then, and two pairs nested unsuccessfully in Shropshire in 2005. One pair fledged two young here in 2006, the first successful breeding in Shropshire for 130 years. Six nests were found in 2007, and, by 2010, the population had reached 20 breeding pairs. Numbers have continued to increase.

SRSG_Red KiteIn 2014, 34 pairs were located, and 26 nests were found; 17 were successful, producing 31 fledged young. This was the best year since 2011, and followed two poor breeding seasons affected by bad weather.

Since the first successful breeding in 2006, more than 200 young are known to have flown from Shropshire nests. Summaries of each year’s Red Kite activity in the county are available in a series of annual reports.

Almost all found nests have been in the AONB in the south-west Shropshire hills, but the range is spreading, and there have been nests near Chirbury, and along Wenlock Edge and near the Clee Hills, in the last two years.

Kites usually don’t breed until they are two or three years old. Young birds wander widely, so many sightings will be of immature birds. However, there should be even more nests to find this year, including some in north and east Shropshire. Most nests are started in late March, but first-time breeders may not lay until late April or early May. Nests are usually built in large trees, on steep hillsides. Young fly in late June or early July. Nest sites are kept confidential.

We are still trying to find all nests, so reports are wanted, please, of

  • a pair together in spring,
  • displaying birds,
  • one seen several times in the same place,
  • one going into a wood, any time between March and June.

Reports of wing-tagged birds are wanted too, please. All reports will be treated in absolute confidence. Kites are very shy, and they are legally protected. It is an offence to disturb them, but this monitoring is carried out under licence.

The Welsh Kite Trust promotes conservation, organises nest protection, and monitors the increasing population and range. You can support this work, and receive on-line newsletters, by joining the Friends of the Welsh Kite.

Further information from the Trust Office at “Samaria”, Nantmel, Llandridnod Wells, Powys LD1 6EN, or from Leo Smith.

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Page updated: 02/12/2016