A warning has been issued over the feeding of red kites, a bird of prey, after complaints about meat falling on people’s heads.
Since the reintroduction of red kites to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the 1990s after they were driven to near extinction, some people have fed the birds meat in their gardens.
The Chilterns Conservation Board has discouraged this for fear it will impact the behavior and status of the bird, especially as the board has received complaints about pieces of meat falling directly on people’s heads .
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The trust says public opinion about birds suffered after a 2-year-old child who was scratched by a red kite that stole his sandwich made headlines in 2019.
The six reasons given by the trust for not feeding the birds were:
- Feeding encourages red kites to become bolder than they would naturally. They have sharp claws and a huge wingspan, so it could be menacing.
- Feeding encourages large numbers of kites to congregate in an area, which impacts other wildlife.
- The leftover raw and cooked meat that people feed red kites is not a healthy, balanced diet.
- Red kites can drop scraps of meat, which poses a health risk and attracts rats and vermin.
- Feeding discourages red kites from expanding their range.
- Red kites can successfully feed and thrive in their natural habitat without human assistance, although they were useful when introduced.
This story was written by Shosha Adie.
She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.
To get in touch with his email: [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie
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