Red Kites in North Rhine-Westphalia

Red Kite in flightThe Red Kite (Milvus milvus) is a character bird of well structured landscapes with woods and forests in Central Europe. Approximately 65% ​​of the world’s population of the Red Kite (Milvus milvus) is found in Germany. Since the late 1970s, the population is declining. In the lowlands even a large-scale retreat is observed. In recent years, although a positive population development was found again, due to which the Red Kite was released from the Red List. However, it is discussed whether the downgrading of the red kite in a lower risk category compared to the red list of 1999 is not likely due to an altered system of criteria as to an change in the situation of the environment. This applies especially to the Red List in North Rhine-Westphalia. Future intensification of agriculture and the increasing use of wind energy (many red kites crash on wind turbines) probably will further put pressure on the population of the kite.

Foraging on agricultural land with a mosaic of meadows and fields is preferred. The nest, however, is found in small woods, in light wood stocks and the forest edges of larger forests. Red Kites are pretty faithful of their territory and use old nests often over many years. Typical is the lively, rocking flight of the Red Kite with a hanging hand and quite a deeply forked tail. He looks much bigger and heavier than a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) though he is only slightly larger with a body length of 60-70 cm. Perhaps because of the hanging wings he appears more massive. The Red Kite is also called “Gabelweihe” in german because of the forked tail.

Since about 65% of the world’s population if the Red Kite occurs in Germany, the geman state of North Rhine-Westphalia also has a special responsibility for the protection of species. The total population is estimated at 420-510 breeding pairs. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Red Kite mainly breeds in the Weserbergland, the mountains along the river Weser, the Sauerland and in the Eifel. To the many Kites over the sky of the area of Blomberg – which is within the Weserbergland – the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Rotmilanfreunde Lippe” (Association of the Friends of the Red Kite) cares. The interesting website of that Association can be found here. Blomberg is next to areas of Horn-Bad Meinberg and Detmold one of the centers of highest density of the Red Kite. In 2013, a total of 10 breeding sites of this fascinating bird of prey were known. Good news, not only for the Rotmilanfreunde. The breeding success of Red Kite depend on the weather and food supply in the weeks between end of April and June/ July.

Cold weather, lots of rain and only a few mice are not good for the younger generation. Unfortunately a large number of young red kites dies in these circumstances. But that’s not the case this year. Since everything went well with the Red Kites, the chicks were examined at the end of June by Prof. Oliver Krüger and his scientific staff and ringed. On Tuesday, 9th July 2013, the ringing of Red Kites in 2013 could be finished. A little celebration was held At the conclusion was held on the Adlerwarte Berlebeck. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Rotmilanfreunde Lippe thanked Oliver Krüger, Nayden Chakarov and Anna-Katharina Müller. The three Bielefeld had studied 20 young kites, measured, ringed and safely brought back to the parental nest in the recent weeks.

Although is mainly a portal for bird images and stories around birds, always support serious programs for the protection of birds with emphasis. Blogs about the Red Kite had been published already several time. Furthermore to cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  The nice images you find in that blog are only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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