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The red kites nesting near my village


Today I went on a walk in woods near my house to check on a rotting roe deer and whether the bones were ready to collect yet. The deer was about three weeks away from being white bones, so dad and I took a break on the hillside in the sun.

While we were resting, we saw a big bird soaring from some trees not far away. First of all we thought it was a buzzard, but the head was light grey, not brown, and the tail was too long. It was a red kite !

One of the gamekeepers we met said there are four red kites near us. Last year, another gamekeeper said that there were a pair nesting in his wood, but we didn't know where the other pair lived. Sometimes dad and I have gone in the evening to look for red kites, but we never saw any.

The red kite would go very high in the sky, then float on the wind, then land on the tree again. Then it might wait in the tree for five minutes, then fly again.

Because red kites are a rare kind of bird, the ones that are born in wildlife centres get tags attached to their wings when they are little. The tags have different colours. The one on the left wing are where they were tagged, and the one on the right wing shows when it was tagged.

When we were there, we couldn't see the tags on the red kite. But when we got look back and looked at the photographs my dad took, you could see them. Then we realised there had been two different red kites flying !

The red kite on the left has a red tag on the left wing and a purple tag on the right wing. That means it was born in Central Scotland in 2007. The other red kite also has a red tag on its left wing but a green tag on its right wing. That means it is a year older, and also came from Central Scotland.

I think these are a mummy and a daddy pair, but I don't know which one is which and the female is the one on the left. The females are supposed to be bigger but these looked the same.

We saw a nest high up in the tree, about the size of a buzzards nest. I think that is where they are living. Gamekeepers normally keep a secret about where the nests are, so I am going to keep it a secret too. Sometimes people want to steal the eggs so the babies don't get born, and sometimes the red kites can get killed. Last Christmas there was one that was shot near the village.

I love red kites and thought it was amazing to watch.

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sylvï said...

hi jake!

i came across your blog while searching for 'odd bones' because i found one in the woods recently. i must say i'm really impressed! that's quite a hobby you've got and to top it off you document it all so well. i've always liked bones too, but i've never found whole skeletons like that.

if you're interested, you can take a look at my post about the bone here:


if you know what it is, or even if it's just a wild guess, i'd like to know! no one i've showed it to has had any idea.

Jake said...

Hi Sylvi,

Glad you liked my website !

I think this is either the back bit of a fox or a dog skull. I have a fox skull, and it looks almost the same but some things are different so I think it might be a dog. The ear bones look bigger than on my fox skull, and the ridge at the top of the braincase looks bigger on yours. The hole at the back about the size of your finger is where the spine goes in. The first picture is the underneath of the skull.

Here are some pictures of my fox skull.


In the second picture you can see teeth marks where the skull has been chewed. Some animals like deer do this to get calcium and other minerals.

Hope this helps !


sylvï said...

well this helps a whole lot! thank you so much for pointing me into the right direction. the lack of eye sockets threw me off the scent, but now that i've looked at the fox skulls it's all starting to make sense again. i'll be looking into canine skulls now and i'll let you know what i come up with. great job, jake!

sylvï said...

i'm starting to lean towards a raccoon dog, just because i read that the crest on top of the skull tends to be prominent in older individuals, and also the angle at which the skull would have met the spine suggests an animal that holds its head quite low. we have plenty of them around as well.

now that i know what i'm looking at, i can even see where the tips of the roots of teeth once were. i really wish it had been a whole skull with teeth and all. i've often wondered why there aren't more bones lying about, but to think the deer gobble them up! ;-D

thanks again for your help. i'll be checking back for whatever you'll find next!

Max said...

Hi Jake its me max from Alva.I found a bone that belongs to a whale.Have you got one?!

I dont know when i'll next see you.
I cant wait to see you again i dont think i can see you in the next week.

Anonymous said...

today i found a sweet bone!

a jaw bone from a human (viking)

Jake said...

Hi Max. I didn't know you had a whale bone. Where did you find it ?

Hi Anonymous. How did you know it was from a viking ?

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