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6. Red Kite Breeding (The Schoolhouse)
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|Location||The SchoolhouseRingfordnear Castle Douglas|
|Business Link||Please click here|
PLEASE NOTE: This panel has been relocated to The Schoolhouse, Ringford, following the closure of The Laurie Arms Inn at Laurieston.
Red Kite Breeding
Red Kites usually nest in mature trees where they build large, untidy nests - sometimes over 50 feet from the ground. Nests are often re-used for several years and can become over three feet wide. Constructed of dead twigs, the nest is then lined with grass or sheep wool.
A strange trait of kites is to decorate their nests with odd materials. Shakespeare writes in a Winter's Tale "When a kite builds, look to lesser linen" in recognition of their tendency to steal small pieces of clothing from washing lines! This rarely, if ever, happens in the 21st century,but the kites have plenty of other rubbish lying around the countryside to use in their nests.
This includes plastic bags, newspapers, pages of magazines and even soft toys! The birds begin breeding when two or three years old and pair for life unless a partner dies. Laying in Scotland is generally in April when 1 - 3 or occasionally 4 eggs are laid. Incubation is undertaken mainly by the female and lasts for around 31 days. The male provides the female and the hatched chicks with food.
The female continues to brood the young for the first few weeks. After around 50 days, the young leave the nest but are dependent on the parents for a further 15 - 20 days. Thereafter, they are often seen in the company of other young kites before breeding themselves at 2-3 years old.
Breeding in Dumfries & Galloway
Red Kites have been breeding in this area since 2003 and are now increasing steadily from year to year. The Table below shows how these birds have been doing since breeding began: