Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hundreds of Red Kites Soaring Again in Wales

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hundreds of Red Kites Soaring Again in Wales

Article excerpt

When William Shakespeare was a boy, the birds known as red kites were as numerous in Britain as pigeons today, even snatching food from children in London.

By the 1920s they had been shot, poisoned and trapped to the brink of extinction.

For 70 years, as few as three pairs of these beautiful birds of prey struggled to survive in the wildest areas of mid-Wales.

Now, thanks to one of the largest wildlife rescue operations mounted in Britain, red kites in the hundreds are soaring again above the valleys and hilltops of Wales.

"Barring a natural disaster, I am optimistic they will survive," said Jon Gower of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "We might again see the red kite becoming as familiar as in the 16th century."

After a 24-hour surveillance operation this summer covering every red kite nest, the number of breeding pairs rose above the 100 mark for the first time this century, and around 12 years ahead of forecasts.

The protection program is centered on a small valley in mid-Wales. …

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