We have been following the movements of satellite-tagged red kites and buzzards in Northern Ireland through the Hawk-Eyes Project (Home). This is an update on one of the birds from the 2019 cohort.
Red kite ‘Blue-Brown 7L’ (referring to the bird’s wing-tags) was nic-named ‘The Wanderer’ because it made incredible journeys around Ireland in its first few months (see previous blog The Wanderer Returns…?); after fledging in Co. Down in July 2019 The Wanderer took off on a trip to Co. Donegal before turning south and settling with its cousins in Co. Wicklow in September.
In May 2020, when it would have been almost 1 year old, The Wanderer took off on a round trip from where it had been staying in Co. Wicklow to Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly and Kildare – in 8 days!
Over the following year it showed no signs of settling in a particular area and spent it’s time over spring and summer 2021 mainly between counties Meath and Wicklow.
We lost communication with The Wanderer’s satellite tag in November 2021. It had been favouring a particular area near Navan in Co. Meath for many months, having also stayed there in its first winter in 2019/2020, but had recently moved to Co. Wicklow, to an area it had been in before and would have been familiar with. Unfortunately the battery on the satellite tag stopped working so the bird is ‘missing in action’. We have no reason to believe that the bird came to any harm as it was still moving around before the tag stopped working.
In the 2 years and 4 months where we had signal for this red kite it visited 21 different counties across the island – The Wanderer was well-named.
Hopefully one of the fabulous photographers out there will happen across the blue-brown wing-tags of ‘7L’ in a photo, or we will come across it alive and well during future roost and breeding season surveys.
Red kite volunteers both sides of the political border survey red kites during winter roost watches. During the autumn and winter months red kites gather to roost socially from early evening, this can be quite a spectacle!
If you do see or photograph a tagged Red Kite please report your sightings at https://www.nirsg.com/sightings/ or report to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like to get involved in helping to monitor the red kites in Northern Ireland please contact the RSPB at email@example.com