As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

How this majestic British bird was saved from the brink of extinction

Here are five of Europe's most impressive natural wonders

6 AUGUST 2016 • 6:00AM

It is approaching 3pm at Gigrin Farm, and feeding time. For a few hours now, red kites have been steadily streaming in from their perches across the sparse, steep valleys of Powys. The birds scythe overhead in holding patterns, tawny plumage fluttering and amber eyes staring with intent. A scarlet tractor trundles into view and the sky clouds further.

The driver parks in the  middle of a field and begins shovelling 90lb of gristle-grey meat on to the grass. He is still unloading when the birds begin to dive, their 5ft wings hooked into a corkscrew to accelerate the descent. They feed on the wing, fanning their tail feathers at the very last moment and snatching the food in their talons before wheeling away screeching.

As the frenzy reaches  its peak the kites number 300 at the very least, a single swirling vortex from earth to sky. Only after 30 minutes or so, when most of the kites have soared off into the afternoon, does a column of crows feel sufficiently emboldened to mob over from the branches of a dead chestnut tree, fighting for the few morsels left behind.

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