Follow Wild Scotland
Facebook Blog Twitter Instagram
Bookmark and Share

Stay up to date with Wild Scotland and sign up for our Newsletter

Poisoned red kite released to the wild at Argaty Red Kites, nr Stirling

A red kite found exhausted near Tannadice in Angus earlier this month has been successfully returned to the wild.

The protected bird took her first flight at Argaty Red Kite Project, near Doune on Wednesday following rehabilitation at the Scottish SPCA‘s Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fife. The bird was equipped with a radio transmitter so her progress could be tracked and monitored.

Although the release of bird was good news, it was tainted by the discovery that the bird had been the victim of poisoning by a banned pesticide, following tests carried out by the Scottish Government’s Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture Laboratory. Worried staff at the charity’s Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fife immediately feared the bird had been poisoned as she was unresponsive on arrival, despite having no physical injuries.

Centre Manager Colin Seddon said, “When she first came in she was clearly unwell. We gave her rehydration fluids containing essential nutrients and arranged for the vet to see her straight away. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster recovery, but she’s now been steadily improving and eating well over the past week. She’s also been flying around her aviary, all good indications that she’s ready to return to her natural habitat.”

The young female kite hatched and fledged from a nest in Inverness-shire in 2008. It spent the autumn on the Black Isle in Northern Scotland before moving to Perthshire for the winter.

Bob Elliot, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, said that it was likely that this bird only survived because the weather had been good. “Alphachloralose tends to bring on hypothermia in its victims. This bird is very lucky that it was found during the warmest week of the year so far otherwise it would have died. It is despicable that yet again, some of our most magnificent wildlife continues to be indiscriminately poisoned by criminals who have no regard for our natural heritage or the law”. 

Mike McDonnell, Head Ranger at Argaty Red Kite Project said, “The use of poison baits is cruel and indiscriminate. The fact that the kite has survived this ordeal is remarkable and we are delighted to offer the location for her second chance. Hopefully she will suffer no long-term effects from her ordeal and will be successfully breeding next year.”

View All News Items