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Delight all round as red kites set up home at Cawdor Castle

30 April 2014

Alan Tissiman
Public Affairs Manager

The Dowager Countess of Cawdor has expressed delight that a pair of rare red kites have set up home near Cawdor Castle. They are believed to be the first kites to attempt breeding in Nairnshire since the early part of the nineteenth century.  

Lady Cawdor said, “As the guardian of this historic woodland I am thrilled at the return of the red kites, these birds are in a sense part of the history of this area. At Cawdor we do our best to promote and nurture the environment, our gardens have been organic since 1979 and we are keen to promote nature conservation wherever possible.” 

The birds have built a nest in woodland immediately adjacent to the castle and are often seen from the castle flying to and from the nest. 

RSPB conservation officer Stewart Blair confirmed the historic nature of the breeding attempt. “Records indicate that kites have not bred in Nairnshire since the early 1800s. Cawdor Castle has been the scene of many historic events over the centuries so it seems very appropriate that the grounds of the castle have been chosen by the kites. Red kites would, undoubtedly, have been a familiar sight to William the 3rd Thane of Cawdor, who built the Castle in c1370. It’s very rewarding to think that part of Nature’s historic fabric is slowly being restored.” 

Mr Blair added, “After the awful events in the Black Isle when no fewer that fifteen kites were found dead it is great to have a bit of good news. Let’s hope the kites now go from strength to strength in Nairnshire and bring delight to even more people.” 

Cawdor Castle is open to visitors this year from the 1st of May every day until the 5th of October.


  1. One of the red kites was satellite-tagged as a nestling in the Black Isle and its movements have been tracked by RSPB staff since it fledged.
  2. More information on Cawdor Castle can be found at