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Why don't English Red Kites migrate ? (1 Viewer)

davercox

Dave Cox
Supporter
I've tried, honest, I really have searched this forum and the net in general, really I have ...

All over northern Europe Red Kite is a summer visitor.
The brilliantly well-conserved :t: Welsh population is, and always has been as far as I know, resident.

The introduced birds in England are from "continental" stock.
So why don't they fly away in autumn like all sensible kites ?
 

June Atkinson

Well-known member
I've tried, honest, I really have searched this forum and the net in general, really I have ...

All over northern Europe Red Kite is a summer visitor.
The brilliantly well-conserved :t: Welsh population is, and always has been as far as I know, resident.

The introduced birds in England are from "continental" stock.
So why don't they fly away in autumn like all sensible kites ?

The re-introduced kites in the UK were brought from Spain and Scandinavia and possibly Germany(not sure on this one without checking) but it is interesting to read that Red Kites do pass over the Pyrenees from France to spend the winter in Spain. It was in France, in the Périgord and across the Auvergne that we first saw these beautiful birds. There were both red and black kites. That was the reason I joined Northern Kites as a Volunteer.
 
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david kelly

Drive-by Birder
Scotland
I think the answer may be that Red Kites only migrate when they have to. In areas where snow cover will limit food availability the Kites will migrate. Generally in the low lying areas of Great Britain that is not the case.

David
 

StuartReeves

Local rarity
IAll over northern Europe Red Kite is a summer visitor.

That isn't really true. Good numbers winter in Southern Sweden for instance. Some birds do move south in autumn, but as David said, it's only a partial migration to enable the birds to continue to find food.
 

Helen O

Anything that flies
David has hit the nail on the head.

The first reintroduction into the Chilterns back in '89 consisted of birds taken mainly from Spain - where the kites tend to be resident year round, due to more temperate climes.

I believe Spain holds the bulk of the northern kites in winter, migrating from Scandinavia, etc.

Here in the Chilterns, the large population of kites are resident. We do however, provide chicks for translocation to other locations where reintroductions are taking place, the current one being Aberdeen.
 

Scooby2

Well-known member
I think the answer may be that Red Kites only migrate when they have to. In areas where snow cover will limit food availability the Kites will migrate. Generally in the low lying areas of Great Britain that is not the case.

David

Our Red Kites are in trouble (Bourgogne) and the best guess is that they're missing the open landfill sites that used to be common around here before they got cleared up, coupled with poisoning of field voles and a high mortality at the hands of Spanish hunters.
It seems the solution may be to provide feeding stations to try and supplement their diet and to try and keep them here in the winter.
 
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