Kites, Rabbits and Moles

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

With only 2 more sleeps to cruising, today, as with yesterday, I was up before the cows: This time however it was so that I could take Master Nicholas to work (he’s learning to drive now so hopefully, these early starts will be fewer). Early starts do however have their advantages. Being out on the roads in the early hours does mean that one gets to see a wider variety of wildlife: Fox, Stoat, Partridge, Deer (Roe and Muntjac) and on this occasion something I had always hoped to see but never thought I would.

Driving along the A4 between Hungerford and Newbury, we saw the normal collection of birds breakfasting on the previous nights roadkill and as always, these birds seem to time their departure before our arrival with absolute precision. One of the groups of birds however had a somewhat different look about it which I couldn’t quite make out. As we got closer however the Magpies left leaving a Red Kite getting as much as he could for breakfast before it was too late. Seeing this beautiful creature lift off just in front of my car was, for me, a sight to behold. As I drove by, I saw him, or her, in my mirrors circling before dropping back down to continue the interrupted meal.

Seeing this creature confused me. You see, I was of the belief that Red Kites were true birds of prey that relied only on fresh kills made by themselves. If this was the case then why was this one eating roadkill? Is there not enough prey in the area of all the Kites? Are we going to start seeing Red Kites as roadkill themselves? Not a nice thought and one a brushed from my mind.

It turns out however that they are actually opportunists and scavengers although they are of a predatory nature they only take little things like worms through to mice (not exactly eagle like). This did actually upset me a little. You see, we have a couple of Kite’s seemingly checking out the trees around us. The hope is that they settle down and make one these trees their home and start a family of their own. My reasons are purely selfish.

Quite apart from the joy of having such beautiful creatures in your own back yard I do actually have a veritable bird of prey fast food outlet in my very own back garden. Over the past 12 months, a small family of rabbits have moved into, or more accurately, under my back garden. This small family is now, inevitably quit a large family with little sign of any slow down in birth rate. Surely such a bountiful supply of fresh meat would be perfect for the Red Kites. With such a mix of wild life I think I could put up with rabbits in the garden, even though they they eat just about everything I plant, yet curiously, they never eat the weeds.

Maybe, I thought, I could start shooting the Rabbits and leaving them out in the open for the Kites to find, that way I could reduce the Rabbit population and keep the Red Kites hunger sated, but no, this might not be such a good idea. My preferred weapon for shooting Rabbits would be the Air Rifle. The inevitable pellet or pellets left in the rabbit could cause lead poisoning in the Kite. This would not be good for me or the Kite.

So, what does all this mean? Not a lot actually: It means that I had an interesting morning: I saw a Red Kite: The Rabbits will continue as before and the Kites will continue to circle our trees. Hopefully they will settle. I guess that I will just have to leave nature to present to me whatever it will and I shall continue to savour all the good moments. In the meantime however, I have one more problem: Moles.

In addition to the Rabbits, I also have Moles and open warfare has now been declared on them. They are ruining my lawn and beds and leaving the ground underfoot almost dangerous. Well maybe not dangerous but twisting your foot when it falls into one of their runs isn’t funny. So, the mole traps have been sourced and they only remain to be laid in place. Maybe the moles will encourage the Kites: I do hope so. For more on the Red Kite by the way, why not visit the Red Kite Feeding Station @

In the mean time however, the Moles have a weeks reprieve as there is now just 2 more sleeps to cruising. Yippee.

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