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Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 10:52 GMT
Flying high for red kite
Red Kite
The bird has fought back from the brink of extinction
Supporters of Wales's threatened bird of prey - the red kite - are staging a special open day at a centre near Aberystwyth.

The bird continues its determined fight back from the brink of extinction.

The red kite population is now at its highest for 150 years with some birds sighted in all counties of Wales.

But the population remains concentrated on the Tywi and Cothi valleys of mid Wales.

A survey by the RSPB at the end of 2000 revealed that Wales remains the stronghold for the red kite and there are now 259 breeding pairs, compared with 71 pairs ten years ago.

At Sunday's awareness day Tony Cross, project officer from the Welsh Kite Trust, will giving a talk and slide show on the birds of prey.

Emblem

At 1400 BST on Sunday there will also be a kite flying display.

The site at Nant yr Arian - 10 miles east of Aberystwyth off the A44 - is leased by Forest Enterprise.

Anything between a dozen and 45 birds visit to be fed daily, depending on the weather conditions.

"Many people are aware of them, but they have not seen them," said a spokesman.

"We have had people from Oxford who say they are around their area, but you really cannot see them as you do here."

"We have a wonderful lake and the setting is ideal."

There is also a similar centre based at Coed yr Brennan in North Wales.

The Red Kite, or Barcud in Welsh, has been adopted as an emblem of mid Wales.

The tourism industry in the region has capitalised on the considerable interest from bird watchers and the general public at large to promote "kite country".

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See also:

20 Feb 00 | Wales
Red kite boost celebrated
13 Sep 98 | UK
Kites' soaraway success
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