Sunday, 5 April 2015

What is in a red kites nest?

The poor red kites, Kenny and Katrina, had a bit of a disaster last weekend when the storms blew their nest out of the tree. They've nested there for the last five years and this is the second time the nest has been lost (the last time was 2 years ago). The top of the nest fell out on Sunday and the rest, the original base of the nest, fell out the next day. It all ended up in a heap underneath the tree.

The remains of the nest
We knew they lined their nest with kitchen roll and baler twine as we'd seen them taking it up there (and dropping it in the garden) but this was a great chance to see what else they'd put in there. We put rubber gloves on and had a poke through the twigs and found a very strange collection of nesting material!
A selection of strange items from the nest

Blue surgical glove

Toilet roll

Gauze or cotton wool

A smelly dead mouse, more tissue and baby wipes

Some blue elastic was hiding in amongst grass and moss

Eventually we untangled it and worked out that this is actually a pair of pants.
The material has rotted away, leaving just the blue seams. You can see the
round waistband at the top, two leg holes (bottom right and left) and a
clothing label at the very top
Luckily they hadn't laid any eggs yet (it's still a bit early for them) and by Wednesday Kenny started building again. He has to do all the nest building, while Katrina sits in the tree just above the nest and watches. He's been very busy and has already got a decent nest started, very near to the site of the old nest.
The new nest is taking shape - note the baler twine and grass top right of the
We noticed a big clump of baler twine and grass/straw caught up in the tree near the nest. This probably blew out of the old nest and got stuck in the tree. Perhaps he can just reuse that when he's ready to line the new nest!
Baler twine and grass or straw caught in the tree
Any sticks that aren't too brittle or broken are out on the lawn and Kenny has been taking them to use in the new nest.

Unfortunately the sparrows that were nesting in the basement of the kites nest, also lost their nest. We'll just have to wait and see whether they decide to build again in the new nest or choose somewhere a little more traditional!

Kenny turned up and sat in a tree, peeping in the kitchen window and calling for his tea. Mum took him out a piece of chicken and he was straight down to get it, swooping right over her shoulder whilst she was still throwing it.
Kenny came down for the chicken as soon as she'd thrown it
A second kite came down for another piece of chicken and did a sharp U-turn in the air. This shows how agile they are for such big birds.


  1. That's sad. Poor red kites, now they have to start over. :(

  2. Bit of a disaster really, but their new nest is looking good already and they don't usually lay for a few more weeks, so they should be OK.