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New Red Kite Visitor Centre opens at Argaty

Argaty Red Kites growing as magnificent raptors recover

One of the most successful and spectacular bird of prey visitor attractions in Scotland is about to get even better, as Wild Scotland member, Argaty Red Kites opens a brand new visitor centre.  Scotland’s first red kite feeding station offers a terrific chance for people to get close to one of our most striking birds.

Situated near the pretty village of Doune north of Stirling, the farm at Argaty has become the spiritual home of the Central Scotland red kite reintroduction project, which began in 1996.  Owners Niall and Lynn Bowser found that the sociable raptors released nearby gathered on their farm, attracting bird watchers from near and far.  In order to let people see and learn about these wonderful birds, the idea of the Argaty project was born.

Since the farm started officially accepting visitors in 2003, with help from the RSPB, Argaty has welcomed over 20,000 people from all over the world to enjoy the spectacle of seeing groups of the graceful birds soaring overhead.  With their 5 foot wingspan and distinctive forked tails, red kites are one of the most striking birds that people are likely to see – from wildlife novice to experienced birder.

However, due to overwhelming demand, the facilities at Argaty were simply unable to deliver the space that was needed to host the many and varied activities that were developing, such as school visits.  The barn has now been refurbished to make a flexible exhibition space, useful as a classroom and also for other social activities.  Great tea and coffee, a wood burning stove and new toilet facilities will hopefully help visitor numbers to double from the current 5000 per year.  

Lynn Bowser, co-owner of Argaty farm, said:
“This is something that we have needed for a long time. I’m very proud of the results – what was once a barn is now a stunning and very flexible space for all sorts of events and activities.  Over the past few years there has been an explosion of interest in homegrown wildlife, and it’s great to be able to offer the opportunity to people to see these amazing birds.”

Duncan Orr Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management with RSPB Scotland said:
“The Central Scotland red kite population has had a very successful year in 2008, with 75 chicks fledged from 45 breeding pairs, up from 59 chicks from 34 pairs in 2007.  Places like Argaty are really inspirational in giving people a chance to see some of our most spectacular wildlife up close, and it’s fantastic that Argaty now has the facilities to attract even more people.”

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