The Metropolis

Could red kites be London's next big nature success story?

Mike Pollitt | Monday 1 September, 2014 12:27

Map of red kite sightings in London, May 2014

Red Kites are slowly coming back to London.

The map above shows places in the M25 where the bird was spotted in during May 2014, as reported on the London Bird Club site.

Here’s a zoomable version.

For a bird which was down to 100 UK pairs tucked away in west Wales in the 1980s, it’s a pretty amazing comeback. The bird is now ubiquitous along the M40 and M4 motorways west of the city. But how much room for it is there inside the M25?

Red Kite 41 (5939623543)
What a red kite looks like – the big giveaway is the fanned tail

This will be an interesting test of whether modern London is able to make a home for different wildlife.

Peregrine falcons have already returned in numbers to the centre of London – the can be seen on the towers of Westminster and the Tate Modern. Urban foxes have forced their way in, without human consent.

Could kites, which used to scavange rubbish from the streets of medieval London, join them in the future?

One to watch.

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