Red Kites are a conservation success story but an amalgam of CAP reform and Tir Gofal might be causing a problem. The Red Kite is a known scavenger, I have seen one lift road kill immediately in front of a moving car. Its primary food source in winter, apart from at feeding stations, are dead sheep out on the hills and uplands. Now with stocking rates decreasing to meet criteria set for Tir Gofal and other schemes it takes only a simple mathematical calculation to deduce that less live sheep multiplied by mortality rate equals less dead sheep on hills. Couple this with Scrapie regulations enforcing the removal of dead carcasses from fields then there is less food available for Kites.
Its early days yet but there seems to be evidence emerging to suggest that the success rate of Kite nests located in areas with greatest uptake of Tir Gofal is particularly poor. An example of the law of unintended consequence methinks. What do we do about it? Let the Assembly finance a proper scientific study into the matter before it gets serious.