Wednesday 28 June 2017

Kites off to a flyer after 200-year absence

Dave Whelan

AFTER an absence of 200 years, it is hoped the release of these red kite eagles will finally signal their successful reintroduction to Ireland.

The magnificent birds, pictured by Garry O'Neill, are just some of the 15-20 pairs breeding in Co Wicklow as a result of the five-year Millennium Project, which saw the release of 120 birds in the county and a further 39 in Dublin. Some 17 chicks have hatched in the wild so far this year. All the birds released were between 10-12 weeks-old and were fully grown.

It is estimated 70pc of the birds released will survive and breed in the wild after an absence of up to 200 years in this country.

However, some of the birds released have so far fallen prey to poisoning, while others have been shot by farmers. All birds have been electronically tagged for observation. Visible tags with codes are also attached so that members of the public can assist with monitoring them.

Project manager Marc Rudock expressed his hope the birds would now be able to re-populate. "The release-phase is now completed but we will still be observing the birds," he said. Further information about the project can be found at goldeneagle.ie.

Irish Independent

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