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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 05:16 GMT 06:16 UK
School adopts rare bird of prey
Red Kite
The red kites were reintroduced to the region in July
Pupils at a Tyneside school are the first to adopt one of the rare red kites re-introduced to the region after a gap of 150 years.

The rare birds of prey had been extinct for at least 150 years from northern England until 20 were re-introduced to Gateshead's Derwent Valley in July.

Project leaders are so overwhelmed by the interest, they are starting an adopt-a-kite scheme for schools.

Gateshead's Rowlands Gill Infants and Nursery School is the first to join.

Northern Kites project manager Keith Bowey said: "The interest in the kites has been phenomenal and so we have decided to give local schools the opportunity to become actively involved with this exciting new project."

Regular updates

The red kites which have been released can be recognised by a numbered wing tag, with Rowlands Gill school adopting kite number one.

The pupils will be able to choose their own name. They will also be given regular updates on the activities of their bird.

The birds have been matched with schools on a random basis, but Mr Bowey said it seemed kite number one and the Rowlands Gill school were destined to link up.

He said: "I have received several reports of kite number one soaring over Rowlands Gill and on at least one occasion the bird was seen flying right over the school."

Nick Baker, presenter of the Really Wild Show, will present pupils with their certificate of adoption.

The Northern Kites project is managed by English Nature and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Also involved in the project are Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, the National Trust and The Forestry Commission with additional funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund and SITA Environmental Trust.





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SEE ALSO:
Rare bird returns to north skies
11 Jun 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Windfall for osprey project
23 Feb 04  |  Cumbria
Osprey celebrations take off
12 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Red kites return to the skies
03 Jul 03  |  Tyne/Wear


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