The Chilterns Conservation Board are urging people not to feed red kites to ensure the safety of the birds as well as the public.
It comes after growing concerns from residents about people feeding the birds, which can lead to the them becoming bolder, swooping for food and taking it from people’s hands.
Vicki Pearce, Communications Officer at Chiltern Conservation Board said: “They are majestic birds, and we want to do all we can to ensure the safety of them and for the public.
“If you live in or near the Chilterns, you’ll know that red kites are one of Britain’s most magnificent and distinctive birds of prey, with fanned forked tails, a reddish-brown body and a distinctive mewing call. They’re a marvel to see circling overhead.
“Some people like to feed red kites’ meat in their gardens to attract large numbers – the birds make dramatic swoops to feed. While this is an impressive spectacle, The Chilterns Conservation Board discourages feeding red kites.”
The Board says there are a number of reasons to avoid feeding them, including there sharp wingspan, concentrated numbers of kites in one area, disrupting the natural population and the fact that feeding the birds doesn’t present a balanced diet.
Vicki added: “In the 1990s a major conservation project saw the successful reintroduction of red kites in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, and now they’re surviving and thriving and public support for these beautiful birds is strong. Kites are a great example of what a successful conservation project can achieve.
“So please avoid feeding the red kites – it’s far better to enjoy them soaring high above our gardens or in their natural environment on a walk in the Chilterns hills.”
Picture credit Alan Shearman