Audio & Video Clips

An introduction: Red Kite Chicks in Holding Pen - June 2008

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Four of the chicks in the holding pen
The holding pen, located in the Chilterns, is currently home to more than a dozen chicks. The birds will soon be released in Aberdeen, as part of the red kite reintroduction project that is currently taking place in Scotland.

Beginning with 2 chicks on the first day, the numbers have gradually increased to 14, with another handful located in a separate holding pen. Needless to say, that's a lot of hungry growing birds to feed!

The chicks are taken from Chilterns nests usually containing broods of three - only one chick is taken from the brood. The chicks are approximately five weeks old when brought to the holding pen, and are growing rapidly.

They are fed twice a day. At this stage, they are capable of feeding themselves. As soon as the food is given to the chicks, they are immediately left alone to feed. Human contact is kept to a bare minimum, with only the occasional need to enter the pen and pick up a kite that has crash landed on the floor after attempting to fly! Fortunately this has only happened a couple of times, and the kites soon learn to make their own way back onto the nesting platform, by way of jumping/flying from the perches provided.

The camera provides a perfect opportunity to observe the behaviour of these birds when grouped together at a young age. An outdoor fully waterproof IR camera fitted with a 3.6mm lens was installed into the holding pen, and is capable of showing images in complete darkness. Over the past couple of weeks, the camera has been active both day and night, enabling us to keep a very close eye on the guests!

Don't forget to turn up the volume, there is quite a lot of sound recorded too.

Photo: Jenny Lennon, Red Kite Officer in Aberdeen with the transportation cages ready to go!

The day finally arrived when the kites began their journey to Aberdeen. You can follow the progress of the kites in Aberdeen, by clicking the link below (Jenny Lennon's blog on the RSPB website).

Aberdeen Red Kites Blog

Thanks to Jon Olive for setting up the camera and recording equipment, and ensuring the technology continues to run smoothly 24 hours a day!