Kites are giving their world cup support

PUBLISHED: 09:54 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 21:57 28 May 2010

With World Cup fever sweeping the globe, it is good to see that some of our most spectacular birds joined the cause in wishing our boys well in Germany. I have it on good authority that red kites have been putting those England flags that have fallen from

With World Cup fever sweeping the globe, it is good to see that some of our most spectacular birds joined the cause in wishing our boys well in Germany.

I have it on good authority that red kites have been putting those England flags that have fallen from cars on to the roadside to good use. They have been picking them up, taking them back to their nests and proudly displaying them.

Kites are frequent scavengers on and by roads where they find plenty of 'roadkill' in the form of mammals such as rabbits and badgers and birds to eat. They are also well-known for lining their nests with unusual items. A pair featured on a webcam beaming back live pictures from a nest in Rockingham Forest (just over the border in Northamptonshire) to the RSPB website shocked the thousands of avid viewers glued to their computer screens by producing what looked to me like a pair of knickers.

These 'flag flyers' no doubt thought the brightly coloured fabric flags would make the perfect addition to their treetop nests, or maybe they are more patriotic than I am giving them credit for.

Red kites are becoming a more frequent sight locally now as birds wander from their breeding strongholds and I am sure it won't be long before a pair or two take up permanent residence in the Fens. Keep your eyes upwards and you may be lucky enough to see the wonderful sight of one of these fork-tailed 'flying crosses'.

It's that time of year when you may be getting a few flutters about the well-being of baby birds in the garden and the unwanted attentions of cats. Great and blue tits have produced their broods now and you no doubt know whether your garden residents have been successful or not.

Tits rely on regular feeds from their parents even after they have flown the nest and you can see them clinging to washing lines and bird feeders with their wings quivering and bills open in begging fashion waiting to be fed.

Many people think that it is the worn and scruffy looking adults that are the young birds, but young birds are actually always very neat looking. Their feathers are brand new, whereas those of their long-suffering parents have taken a real battering over the last few weeks as they made up to 300 visits a day bringing food to the nest. Once the young become fully independent, the adults can finally relax, moult their old, worn feathers and grow some fresh ones.

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