Good omen as red kite 'Damien' in flying form
AN AILING red kite found on the Co Wicklow roadside was successfully released back into the wild yesterday.
The two-year-old male bird, one of a protected species, was detected by a member of the public on a secondary road near the Beehive pub last week.
At first glance it appeared to be injured, but when no marks were found its lethargy still posed concern. Local vet Gillian Hicks and her team at Clover Hill Veterinary in nearby Glenealy assessed the bird, which showed no signs of physical injury, leading to the conclusion that it could have suffered some sort of shock.
The bird, dubbed “Damien” due to his Red Kite Project tag number – 666 – was one of a batch released in Wicklow in 2010 and came to Ireland from Wales.
“There seemed to be nothing obviously wrong with the bird but it wasn’t as energetic as it should be. Gillian and her team did a great job and took some samples for testing before handing it over to us,” said Marc Ruddock of the Red Kite Project. “The bird was kept in a cage for a couple of days and monitored, and by today was raring to go.”
Once the project volunteers were satisfied that Damien was back to full health he was released back into his natural habitat near Redcross yesterday afternoon.
The Red Kite Project, which has been working to build up red kite stocks since 2007, has released 120 birds to date, mostly in Wicklow but with a small number released in Dublin last year.
This year saw the Irish-bred chicks breed for the first time: this was a great milestone for the project, which is run through the Golden Eagle Trust.
“The red kite is becoming part of the landscape now . . . which is wonderful to see,” said Mr Ruddock.