Along with the RSPB and their volunteers we accessed some red kite nests in June, when the chicks were almost fully grown, and attached some tags (number redacted for sensitivity purposes). The nest trees were accessed by professional climbers and the birds were lowered to the ground in a sturdy bag.
The tags were attached to the birds on the ground before they were safely returned to their nests. The whole process took about an hour and the adults kept a close watch from the skies above. Everyone involved in this process is highly trained and know how to minimise disturbance to the birds, to get the process done safely and quickly. The birds’ welfare comes first in all instances of handling/ marking.
Once they were safely back in their nests and we had left the sites the chicks were observed from a distance for as long as was necessary for us to be confident that the birds were happy wearing the backpacks and had resumed normal behaviour (i.e. preening and eating!). I am delighted to say that all the young birds fledged successfully in mid-July and the project has really begun!
(Featured image for this Blog, of the red kite in flight, is by T. Campbell. Images embedded in Blog are by V. Nixon and G. McMillan)