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  Rare red kites released into wild
Updated 13 July 2004, 16.38
A red kite flying high
Six rare birds have been released into the wilds of north east England.

The release of the six young red kites is the first this year and will help put the rare birds of prey back into areas across the north of the UK.

Their numbers dwindled as a result of loss of habitat as more homes were built in the countryside and because they were shot and poisoned by people.

The release is part of a five-year scheme which will see 80 red kites released into the skies across the UK.

The red kite getting used to its new home
The red kite getting used to its new home
The birds feed mainly on carrion, animals they find that are already dead, rather than killing live creatures.

They do rarely take live prey including some small mammals and birds, beetles, other large insects and earthworms.

It is because the birds were considered a threat to some farm animals and agricultural interests that they were hunted and killed.

More releases are being scheduled at secret locations around the country in 2004 and 2005.

It's hoped the kites will start nesting in 2006 and that the population will breed and populate the region without further help within a few years.

The magnificent birds have a wing span of up to two metres when fully grown and should be seen soaring in skies near you in years to come.

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ChatChat about animals
ClubI saw rare red kites released
ClubBirds are meant to fly free

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Extinct bird returns to UK nests
British birds face parrot threat
Calls to stop rare red kite poisoning
'Worst ever' bird poisoning case

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