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The Resurgence of the Red Kite in Kent!

Until very recent years, the possibility of seeing a Red Kite in Kent at all would have been unthinkable. Persecuted into extinction across most of the UK by the beginning of the 20th Century, they were then re-introduced successfully in a handful of locations between the late 1980’s and the beginning of the new millennium. Here in Kent at the beginning of this decade we might have had the very occasional bird being spotted and it would, understandably, cause great excitement. It has therefore been absolutely fantastic to have received sighting reports from more than 15 separate areas of the County this year alone!

They are probably one of the most recognisable of the Raptors with their distinctive forked tails silhouetted against the sky. With ornithologists certain that there are areas of suitable breeding habitat for the birds in several parts of the County, let’s hope that Red Kites will continue to thrive and become a permanent feature of our skyscape here in Kent once more.

Map showing the distribution of Red Kites across Kent between 1960 and 2015.

The map shows the recorded Red Kite sightings held at KMBRC for the period between 1960 and 2015 (data after this date is still being collected and collated by Kent Ornithological Society so to include last year’s figures would not show the true picture yet). The data has been separated into decades to show the changes in both number and distribution of sightings over that time with the graph then showing the number of individual sightings per year between those same dates.

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