Sunday, 10 April 2016

Nesting Red Kites

We spent the afternoon at my parent's house, watching Kenny and Katrina, the red kites that live in their back garden. 

They're nesting in the tree just outside their kitchen window again and have been working hard on their nest over the last couple of weeks. At least Kenny's been working hard. It seems to be his job to make the nest while Katrina sits next to him and watches. She has been taking her turn with guard duty though, as one of them usually sits in the nest to stop the jackdaws from stealing their best twigs!
The view from the kitchen window

We watched them fly into the nest with twigs a few times and I even saw Katrina bring a twig to the nest, which she gave to Kenny to put in place. 

You can see Kenny's back on the left. He has his head down, twiddling with the
nest. Katrina had just brought him a twig and is sitting on the right
From the end other side you can see how much rubbish has been included in the nest. They seem to love plastic bags, kitchen roll, socks, baler twine and anything else they can find.
No red kites nest would be complete without a few plastic bags

They're mating several times a day at the moment and Katrina sits in the tree and calls Kenny until he comes to her. They mated while we were sat in the garden, but I was so surprised by the noise they were making (there was a lot of gasping and groaning!) that I forgot to film it. Here they are just afterwards.

We threw a couple of chicken wings out for them, which soon attracted several of the local kites. You can see how close you can get to the action from this photo. The chicken wing is bottom left in the picture.

This video shows how many kites appear as soon as one of them spots some food. They circle overhead for a few minutes, until one of them decides to swoop. This acts as a trigger and they'll all make a dive for the chicken. They're very fast and surprisingly quiet.

We went into the house and left one last piece of chicken on a fence post (so the dog wouldn't get it). Just as I got to the kitchen I looked out of the window and saw this. Its a bit blurred, but you can see four kites (three face on and one tail on the left) all racing up the garden trying to grab the chicken.

Fingers crossed that Kenny and Katrina have a better year this summer and manage to raise chicks. Last year their nest was blown out of the tree in a gale and they never seemed to recover. 

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! You are so lucky! I see more marsh harriers than red kites over here in Norfolk, but they are just as good to watch.