Hopes weren’t high for a good outcome....however, Jean has an excellent track record with rehab so if anyone could turn it around she could. We’ve ringed many of the birds successfully rehabbed by Jean over the years and have proved the value of all her hard work, patience, skill and dedication. Ringing has shown, amongst many others, that a Barn Owl that had been shot with an air rifle, breaking its wing, is now still breeding in one of our nest boxes and has produced more than 30 chicks since Jean cared for it. The Marsh Harrier (below) faired well in the valley following a broken wing and was tracked due to its distinctive moult for the rest of the summer before it departed, and only last week we re-trapped a shelduck duckling, which is now back, paired up and breeding in the valley 5 years after Jean hand reared it following the loss of its parents on a road. All of Jean's hard work obviously helps the individuals and populations of the wild birds and animals she looks after, but also in the longer run will bring enjoyment to those who get to enjoy, for example, the Barn Owls, Marsh Harriers and Shelduck offspring produced by the above - SO WELL DONE JEAN!
Anyway, true to Jean’s form, the Red Kite amazingly started to fair well, putting on 150 grams during its two week stay and today it let Jean know it was ready to go - by attacking her and batting around its pen. If they’re ready, they’re ready, so Craig and Mike had the privilege of being there for the release and Mike also got to ring a Red Kite.
The bird came from within the wider Derwent catchment, was a first year male, and due to the fact it had been poisoned, the unfortunate decision was made not to release it back to where it was found (always the golden rule in rehab). Instead it was released on a private part of the NNR with good Kite habitat, lots of available food and in an area frequented by passing Kites with good ‘raptor friendly’ landowners.
Stop Press! The Kite was sighted by the York BTO regional rep Rob Chapman and his wife on the NNR about an hour after it was released. This was about 5 Km from where it was released, and was later seen by Craig on the ground feeding on a goose carcass - RESULT!