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Adoption ensures red kites soar

Last modified: 27 October 2010

Red kites with identification tags

It will be a proud day for the pupils of St Mary’s Primary School, Ballyward when they become the adoptive family of the first ever red kite chick reared in Northern Ireland for over 200 years.  

This month sees the launch of the RSPB’s Adopt a Kite campaign for 2010-2011. To celebrate, RSPB Red Kite project officer Robert Straughan will visit the school who have continued to support the scheme despite the devastating loss of their previous kite, Red Rocket. 

Red Rocket, adopted in 2008, was found grounded having suffered alphachloralose poisoning. He was treated and re-released only to sadly die one month later. This occasion will be a bittersweet moment for all those involved. 

“We are delighted that the kites bred for the first time this year, raising five chicks in total,” boasts Robert. “It is a fantastic privilege being able to present St Mary’s with our first ever chick in 200 years.” 

Both parents of the new chick were adopted in the first year of the scheme. Paprika, the female is supported by Riverdale Primary School in Lisburn and Dobbin, the male by St Malachy’s Primary School in Newry.  

Since the reintroduction programme began in 2008 adoption has ensured the best chance of survival for these majestic birds of prey. There are thirty kites up for adoption this year and we are inviting schools across Northern Ireland to get involved. 

St Mary’s Primary School are very lucky to have a number of kites in and around the area. “Some of the children have been able to spot other kites on their way to and from school, excitedly reporting back to their classmates,” said Mrs King, a teacher at St Mary’s. “We are just so excited about the new chick although deciding on a name is proving to be a challenge.” 

Like St Mary’s, adoptive schools will receive the opportunity to name your own kite, certificate of adoption, details of you bird including ID number and date of birth and an information pack. Schools may also receive a visit from one of the RSPB Red Kite experts providing class talks and a radio tracking game. 

All the RSPB ask for is a minimum donation of £50 to ensure continued support for the Red Kite. A small price to pay for such a wonderful experience. 

To find out more about adopting a red kite, please contact or call 02890 491547.

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