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Last Updated: Monday May 22 2006 10:05 GMT

Red kites return after 200 years

Undated RSPB Scotland handout image of a red kite

A rare bird called the red kite is nesting in north-east England for the first time in over 200 years.

Two pairs of birds have been spotted building nests in the Gateshead area of England and it's hoped the couples will soon produce chicks.

The return of the bird of prey is the result of a successful project to re-introduce the species.

They are protected by law and experts are asking people not to look for nests so that they don't disturb the birds.

'Delighted'

Red kites are a large bird of prey with a wingspan of almost 2m. They died out in north-east England in the early 1800s, during the reign of George III.

Keith Bowey, a member of the team helping re-introduce the birds, said: "I am absolutely delighted by this exciting and historic news.

"It will be a red-letter day if young kites fly from a north east nest this spring."