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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
'Poisoned' red kite will go free
Red kite
The red kite will be released close to where it was found
A rare bird of prey which experts suspect may have been poisoned is to be released back into the wild.

The red kite has been nursed back to health by wildlife specialists after being found in a distressed state under a window in Dunblane.

Toxicology results on the young bird have come back inconclusive.

The fledgling has made a full recovery and will be fitted with a radio transmitter before being set free from a feeding station near Doune.

It was looked after at the Scottish SPCA's wildlife centre in Dunfermline.

Touch and go

Doreen Graham, from the charity, said the red kite had responded well to the treatment.

"We rehydrated it to flush any toxins out and it was given a special compound to absorb any toxins from the stomach," she said.

"It was touch and go for a wee while, because it didn't want to feed, but it has really come on leaps and bounds.

We're delighted that this bird is going to be ok and can hopefully go on and breed next year
RSPB spokesman

"We are really excited to see it released because it is the first red kite ever cared for by the Scottish SPCA."

Ms Graham said it was still not clear what had happened to the bird.

She added: "Even though the toxicology results have proved inconclusive, we still have our concerns about what caused it to fly into the window."

Specialist wildlife vet Romain Pizzi said he was convinced the bird had eaten a rat which had been poisoned.

Rat poison

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "It was in good body condition and had been eating well.

"It had dark black, thin diarrhoea which indicated partially ingested rat poison, which is an anti-coagulant.

"Even if it had hit a window, it would not cause bleeding in its intestines."

Mr Pizzi added that it was unlikely to have been poisoned deliberately, as red kites are scavengers which feed on dead animals.

Red kite
The number of red kites has been steadily increasing

The red kite was a chick which fledged last year from a breeding pair as part of a program to reintroduce the species into central Scotland.

Its progress will be monitored by experts from the RSPB through the radio transmitter.

A spokesman said: "In the short term, this bird has been ill and it will let us keep an eye on it.

"In the longer term, it will also let us see the spread of the bird, where they take on new territories, what they're eating.

"We're delighted that this bird is going to be okay and can hopefully go on and breed next year."

He added that central Scotland's red kite population did not seem to be as badly affected by wildlife crime than other parts of the country.

Numbers of the protected species have been steadily increasing for more than a decade.

SEE ALSO
Poisoning worry over bird of prey
01 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Third red kite poisoned to death
22 Aug 07 |  Tayside and Central
Pesticide used to kill rare birds
24 Jul 07 |  Tayside and Central
Funding boost for Red Kite scheme
11 Jun 07 |  North East/N Isles

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