Red Kites found to be using very unusual nest materials

Red Kites found to be using very unusual nest materials

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Red Kites building somewhere to raise their chicks near a Scottish beauty spot enjoyed an unexpected bonus when it came to nest materials recently - and they made sure they capitalised on it.

Thanks to the hot spell at the end of June and start of July, people had been heading to Glen Esk in Angus for a relaxing cool in the waters of the popular bathing area.

However, when they swapped their usual clothing for their swimming costumes or even just their undergarments, the birds of prey were ready and waiting.

After the bathers had emerged from the water, they were bemused to find various items of clothing missing - until head gamekeeper at the Gannochy Estate Dave Clement stepped in to solve the mystery.

The garments had been taken by the Red Kites to act as nest material, and they were now adorning both the nest and some of the surrounding trees.

Photos were taken of the nest - including a selection of visible socks - and the RSPB was called to have the birds ringed and tagged so they could be properly monitored.

"It was like the kites were cleaning up the glen," Mr Clement laughed.

And it was clearly a clever tactic by the birds to look for human clothes as insulation, since two chicks were discovered that appeared to be thriving.

The news comes after bird watchers in Cornwall got a treat from Red Kites back in early June, with record sightings recorded across the country.

On June 8th, people began to log reports of the birds on the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society website, starting over the north coastline.

However, by the end of the day, an incredible 186 had been seen over Land's End. Tony Whitehead from the area's RSPB said people could barely believe their eyes.

"They could be UK young birds wandering from the Midlands until they reach a dead end. Whatever - it's a good number!" he added.

The Red Kite was saved from extinction thanks to one of the world's longest running protection and reintroduction programmes and there are now an estimated 1,600 breeding pairs in Britain.