Second wave of red kites released in Grizedale Forest

The red kites are released. Pic: Milton Haworth
Image caption The birds are fitted with coloured tags

A second group of red kites has been released in a project to reintroduce the rare birds to the Lake District.

Forestry Commission wildlife ranger Iain Yoxall saw the 30 birds fly out of their pen in Grizedale Forest.

They were the second batch of birds to be released in a three-year conservation project with the final group due to be released in 2012.

The initial release of the birds marked the first return of the birds to Cumbria in 160 years.

The red kites were brought to Cumbria from the Forestry Commission's breeding site in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire.

Mr Yoxall said: "It is a fabulous sight seeing the young birds fly out of their pen and into the skies above Grizedale.

"It is great to see them circling above the forest and getting to know their new surroundings.

"These birds were once native to the area and this second batch of birds, along with the birds released last year, will become a spectacular addition to the region's biodiversity."

Earlier this year, rangers said they believed that 20 birds survived the winter, which is said to be in line with natural mortality rates.

However two were found shot dead.

The red kites have coloured tags on their wings to show where and when they were released.

They are also fitted with radio transmitters so they can be monitored.

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