Red kites return to Aberdeen’s skies 10 years after launch of special project to reintroduce species

A species of bird driven to extinction in Scotland 150 years ago has thrived since being reintroduced to Aberdeen a decade ago today.

The RSPB is celebrating the anniversary of the reintroduction of red kites in Aberdeen, which hadn’t been seen in the city’s skies for almost a century and a half.

Medium to large birds of prey, they were released as part of a three-year re-introduction project between 2007 and 2009 which saw 101 young birds reintroduced at then-secret locations on the outskirts of Aberdeen, at VSA Easter Anguston Farm, Peterculter.

Following the successful reintroduction, numbers have climbed year on year, with at least 35 breeding pairs established in the North-east last year.

During that time Aberdeen’s red kites have raised more than 300 chicks in the wild.

Jenny Weston, conservation officer for RSPB Scotland, and the charity’s red kite officer back in 2007, said: “The return of the red kite to our skies is a massive conservation success story.

“That so many of us now see kites on our daily commutes or walks should be celebrated as just 10 years ago they were a rare sight here in Aberdeen and 30 years ago they were absent from Scotland.

“I feel privileged to have been part of this project since it began, especially as I remember watching kites as a child in Wales where they were still very rare indeed.”

To celebrate the anniversary of the birds’ return, RSPB Scotland has launched a red kite photo competition.

Entries will be accepted from today until August 15 and entrants can be of any age or skill level (except professional photographers) as long as photos were taken in the North-east and feature a red kite in a natural setting.

The judges will be looking for photos that tell a powerful story about these much-loved birds and the winning entrant will win a day out with an RSPB Scotland conservation officer to visit red kite hotspots, take photos and learn more about the species and its conservation.

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