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Red Kites


Red Kites settling into their temporary homeRed Kites were reintroduced into Grizedale Forest in the summer of 2010, as part of a three year programme. The first release was of 30 chicks in August 2010, followed by a similar release in 2011 before the final one in 2012.


Red Kites are a stunning bird of prey, similar in size to a buzzard, which were once widespread across the UK. In the past, Red Kites would have been found scavenging around every village and town in the country, before numbers dropped to such an extent that they became extinct in England and Scotland in the nineteenth century. Only a small population remained in mid Wales.

The North West of England is geographically the largest and most obvious region from which red kites are still absent in the UK and it was identifed by the National Red Kite Steering Group as the final release site for the England re-introduction programme. The land in and around Grizedale Forest is highly suitable for the birds, as well as having the on site expertise from the Forestry Commission's widlife ranger team. 

Sightings of the birds - how you can help

There have been sightings of the birds as far north as southern Scotland and right down to the south coast of England as well as in the skies above Grizedale Forest and across Cumbria. A dedicated facebook page and email address has been set up for members of the public to report any sightings of the Grizedale birds. Keep up to date with news on the project via our red kites facebook page If you think you have seen one, please enter the details into our survey form.

We had the first successful breeding pair in Cumbria in 2014.  This pair successfully fledged a total of 9 chicks in the last 3 years.  We have also 2 more confirmed nest sites since 2015 and between then they have fledged another 6 chicks to date, and hopefully we will have more fledge this year. We are continuing to monitor the Red Kites  and all successfully fledged chicks are all ringed and wing tagged. We always appreciate any infomation you may have on sightings.

For further Information contact the project manager Iain Yoxall

Reintroduction programme Further Reading

Ranger showing off a Grizedale red kite chick's wing

Wing span of a Red Kite Chick from Grizedale Red Kite Re-introduction.



Last updated: 28th August 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.