Final phase of Red Kites released in Cumbria

A landmark Forestry Commission conservation project has entered a new chapter as 30 more red kites are released into Grizedale Forest.

Red kites were successfully reintroduced to the heart of the Lake District in the summer of 2010 and again in 2011.

Red Kites from 2011 waiting to be released Credit: ITV Border

Now a new wave of hatchlings from the Forestry Commission's breeding site in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire are ready for release into Cumbria's skies.The latest group of juvenile raptors are spending a month gaining strength in a custom made pen at a secret location in Grizedale Forest.

The Forestry Commission North West England has been granted a special licence to release 90 red kites in Grizedale Forest over a three year period. The latest arrivals mark the third and final phase of the landmark final reintroduction of the birds in England.

Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. Numbers then recovered slowly and the UK population is expanding and there are now thought to be over 1,000 pairs of the birds in the country.