Tuesday, 21 June 2016

#30DaysWild day 21: Red kite injures and babies

When I got home from the school drop off, I was surprised to see our back garden red kites, Whistlejacket and his wife, sitting in their tree. It's very unusual to see them both together at this time of the year. She spends almost all of her time on the nest, to be relieved briefly by him every now and then.

I took a photo, just because it was a nice surprise to see them both, and realised that one of them has a nasty injury to their face. It looks like one eye and part of the beak has been damaged and there was blood on the side of the face.

I don't know how it happened, but maybe he was on the ground (we sometimes see them by the side of the road eating road kill) and a cat had a go at him.

They stayed together for about half an hour, then one of them disappeared, presumably back to the nest. The injured kite has been in the tree a lot today, whistling at any kites that fly too close, but has also been flying around. He seems to be OK (other than the obvious injuries), but we'll just have to keep an eye on him.

I thought that was the end of the excitement, until this evening when I had a look out of the back door and realised there were three kites in the tree. I believe this is one of the adults and two fledged babies, which would explain why the adults weren't on the nest this morning. The adults would never allow another adult (other than their mate) to sit in their tree with them, so I think this must be their young. The babies don't stay around for long, so this is a very brief glimpse of the family before the babies go their own way.
I believe the adult is on the left and the two babies (with their stubby tails)
are centre and right
I've just checked last years blog and we saw the two adults and two babies in the tree on 26th June 2015, which is the only time we saw them all together. Looks like they're a few days ahead this year!

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