14. March 2010 · 11 comments · Categories: Birds


I've been somewhat surprised to see a Red kite circling over residential St Albans recently. Just the other day I saw it near the hospital, and I have previously seen one over the Waitrose car park. I don't quite understand why they're circling high over residential areas, though perhaps they're after carrion or small birds in our gardens. If nothing else it's good evidence of their continued spread across the country.

Sadly I don't have a particularly good picture of a kite as I always seem to be travelling in a car when I spot them aloft. They also tend to be fairly high, and though large birds they are still just a speck in the view of my lens. The picture above was taken in the fields outside St Albans last May. The silhouette is unmistakable, along with the white patches under the wings and the grey head.

The website linked above is well worth a look by the way, with a particularly good introduction to Red kites. I didn't realise that they are so large (2m wingspan), yet so light (2-3 lbs).

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  1. On Friday 28/05/2010 I was so suprised whilst driving up the M10 towards Hemel Hempstead, it was just before you go over the M1, on the opposite side of the road, where I saw a Red Kite. At first I did not know what bird of prey it was, but after reading and looking at pictures more and more and because of the size (huge), I can honestly say that I am 100% sure that this was a Red Kite. It was landing behind the trees in a field on the right (could this be where its nest is?) I have recently been noticing a lot of birds of prey within the area where I live in London Colney. Last year I came home to the carcass of a wood pigeon and feathers everywhere in my back garden, It came back for the rest of the carcass that evening whilst I was putting my hose away, but once landed it immediately took off as it was shocked to see me (I think this was a Sparrow Hawk (but that was extremely big) but it happened so fast and I wasnt very sure on birds of prey at the time. Also last year my mum and I were standing in the back garden and out of nowhere a Sparrow Hawk took out a dove in the tree and it landed on top of it on the lawn, but then saw us and took off without dinner and the dove had a lucky escape. This year I have lost a very tame Robin to I presume the resident Sparrow Hawk (Found all the plucked feathers and beak next to the bird feeder).
    I do now believe what I have previously seen to be a Red Kite circling flying very high in London Colney (Sometimes crows mob and swoop at it). I now know more about birds of prey because I have lost birds in my garden which makes me more aware and I notice them more because I am always looking for them.

  2. markezzquamina@hotmail.com

    Just saw truely amazing and beautiful Red kite fly, two metres past my bedroom window. I live in Maynards Ave, st albans!!! It had just circled down from about a mile away. I’m no bird watcher, but it flew past our house and was able to watch it for a good 10 seconds. A truly wonderful experience as I did not appreciate just how big Kites are.
    Mark Q

  3. Often see a red kite fling quite low near the hospital in the centre of St. Albans. Yesterday morning there were 4, circling together!

  4. Linda Baxter

    This week from 29th April I have had a lovely sight of a single & sometimes a pair of Red Kites over London Colney, Nr. St. Albans. The single Kite was probably stalking prey over farmland near the A414 towards Hatfield. Early last summer I was gardening in a Park Street garden overlooking farmland towards Tippendell Lane, there were a pair of Kites that seem to be nesting in a group of trees and a young Kite with them. Is it possible the young kite has been ‘moved on’ by the adults

  5. I see the kites frequently now over St Albans, including over my own garden, sometimes as low as 30 feet. There are clearly local birds here. I’m afraid I wouldn’t know about the ways that youngsters move on or otherwise. You’d have to ask someone like Chris Packham for that 🙂

  6. Have been truly awestruck when seeing the red kites around St. Albans. Such a lovely site, seeing them frequently at Sopwell and bricketwood…. Awesome!!!

  7. I believe there are 3 Red Kites that nest in the Prae wood area.

  8. I have seen one gliding over The Camp area of St Albans twice in the past 3 weeks.

  9. Best seen when hovering 10 feet above me whilst in the garden, or hovering just outside the bedroom window, but always good to see gliding around.
    Frequent visitors near the hospital, they have a fairly big range, I have seen them in Wheathampstead too.
    They are lazy hunters, sometimes take small birds or rodents, but mainly eat carrion and worms apparently, and in an old bird book they are rare in England and breeding pairs are confined to Wales.
    Reports of them causing injury by swooping down on students to steal food, and people worrying about them taking pet guinea-pigs, rabbits and small dogs, but personally I`m not concerned, they are a magnificent addition to wildlife in St. Albans.

  10. A group of 5 circling near the hospital yesterday….breeding season ?

  11. I often see the Red Kite and its not the only one. I’ve seen a couple out together in July. As soon as I hear its call I scan the sky for it. Beautiful bird.

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