Record year for red kites in the North East

Populations of red kites in the region have hit record highs since a reintroduction programme began eighteen years ago.

For many decades they were missing from our skies because of human persecution.

The Friends of Red Kites North East counted 94 of the birds of prey during a survey of Derwent Vally last month.

At one major roost near Hamsterley Mill in County Durham, 71 were counted - a record number for a single location. 

But the thriving population in Derwent Valley is still causing concerns - they have not expanded their territory as far as expected.

It is thought the birds of prey, that only tend to scavenge, are still being persecuted by humans despite being no threat to wildlife and game birds.