Tyne & Wear

Red kite project on Tyneside breeds success

Red kite being tagged
Image caption The numbers of red kites in the Derwent Valley is growing

Experts say a scheme to reintroduce endangered red kites to the North East is continuing to prove a success.

The Northern Kites project released almost 100 of the birds of prey into the lower Derwent Valley in Gateshead between 2004 and 2006.

A fresh clutch of chicks are being ringed and wing tagged at a secret location near Gibside, where some of the birds have settled.

The National Trust said the birds had established "sustainable territories".

Red kites have also been reported at nest sites at Blaydon, Hamsterley Hill, Rowlands Gill and Chopwell.

Two years ago the number of red kite chicks born in the Derwent Valley was 15. The National Trust says that figure has now risen to 20.

A spokesman said: "It is fantastic news and the hope is that they continue to expand across the North East."

The birds used to be a common sight in the UK, but human interference meant they were extinct by the 19th Century.

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