Sunday, 15 March 2015

Can I persuade a red kite to land on my lawn?

The red kites don't land on lawns and eat (people put chicken wings on the lawn for them, they swoop down, grab the chicken and fly away with it), but occasionally we do see them eating at the side of the road (usually woodpigeons that have been hit by cars). So I decided to see if I could get one of the kites to land in my garden to eat.

I put two chicken legs out in the garden and staked them down with some sticks. Then I set up the trail camera and headed indoors to see what happened. Within a few minutes 7 kites were circling the garden, taking a good look at the chicken.

7 kites circling the garden - taken from the kitchen window
They're very clever birds and don't miss a thing. Without even attempting to snatch the food, they must have spotted that it was staked down and didn't even try to get it, eventually flying away. Whistlejacket sat in the tree in the garden and cried, but kept his eye on it!

They're funny how they sit in the top of bendy fir trees


I decided to leave the chicken out over night., hoping they might come down early in the morning when nobody was around. He was back in the tree again the next morning and the chicken was well chewed, so I was hopeful.


I had a look at the trail camera, but no kites had been down to the chicken. I did discover that our hedgehog has made it through the winter and has woken up though. Brilliant news!



The magpies picked the meat off and I saw the blackbirds and robins having a nibble. Even the rooks had a bite, but they had a bit of a chat about it first, fanned their tails at each other, then one of them was sent down from the tree by the other one.



It took a lot of discussion and tail fanning to decide who should go and get the
chicken

I suspect the female made the male go (just guessing though!)
I was going out for the day, so I decided to leave the chicken and see if they would come down when I was out (they know when you're in because they fly past the windows and peep in!)

I threw one more chicken leg out on the lawn just to give them a bit of extra encouragement. I went back indoors and within a few minutes it was gone. I assume the kite had seen it wasn't staked down and grabbed it, but it must have taken two attempts. The trail camera usually doesn't catch them picking up the food as they're so fast, but this time it actually caught the first attempt. The pictures are taken off the trail camera and are bit blurred because the whole thing took less than a second, but I'm really pleased with them ...

Look at those fluffy legs and big talons

Dropped it



Must have flown round for a second attempt because the chicken was gone
when I looked out of the window again
 Here's the video, slowed down as much as possible. Well worth a look!

video

I left the staked chicken out all day, but no kites came down to eat it. It was picked clean by the magpies in the end though. I took the stakes out and the kites came and grabbed the bones!

4 comments:

  1. Excellent wheeze! We don't have many kites this end of the M4...yet.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks - they never do what you want then to, but they're brilliant birds and we're very lucky to have so many of them around here! I was just lucky to catch one on the trail camera, as usually they're too fast for it.

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  2. We have problems in our area because people are feeding the red kites in their gardens. Now, because they cannot tell the difference between someone feeding them and a chld holding food whlst outdoors they have snatched sandwiches, chocolate bars and picnic food from people, including young children and of course being so large with sharp talons they cause harm in the process. We ask that you PLEASE DO NOT feed Red Kites as it is not good for them and it is leading to unwanted behaviours.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We have problems in our area because people are feeding the red kites in their gardens. Now, because they cannot tell the difference between someone feeding them and a chld holding food whlst outdoors they have snatched sandwiches, chocolate bars and picnic food from people, including young children and of course being so large with sharp talons they cause harm in the process. We ask that you PLEASE DO NOT feed Red Kites as it is not good for them and it is leading to unwanted behaviours.

    ReplyDelete