'Mills and Boon' red kite is released back into wild after traffic accident

A red kite with a colourful life has been nursed back to health after being hit by a vehicle

Red Phillip is released into the wild
Red Phillip is released into the wild

The latest chapter in the colourful life of a red kite with a particular claim to North East fame has seen him released back into the wild after being hit by a vehicle.

The bird, called Red Phillip, was among the original batch of red kite chicks collected from the Chilterns in south east England for the reintroduction of the species to the North East.

Red Phillip was released in the Derwent Valley in Gateshead in 2004.

He went on to father the first “Geordie” red kite to be born in the region for 170 years.

“Mills and Boon could have written his life story,” said Alan Withrington, a management committtee member for the Friends of Red Kites( FoRK), who lives in Rowlands Gill.

But Red Phllip’s life story almost came to an abrupt end when he was involved in a traffic accident in Winalton in the Derwent Valley three weeks ago.

Red Phillip on the road to recovery
Red Phillip on the road to recovery

He was taken by the RSPCA to avian vet Sam Prescott, at the Robson and Prescott veterinary centre in Morpeth.

He treated the bird for concussive injuries and the practice coaxed him back to health with tube feeding over the next nine days.

Red Phillip was then cared for in the aviary of a FoRK corporate member until he was ready to be released in the Winlaton area.

“He was looking fine and we are keeping tabs on him, “ said Alan.

After hatching in the Chilterns, Red Phillip was collected along with a young female, called Flag, and they occupied the same holding pen in the Derwent Valley as they were prepared for release.

The couple eventually formed a breeding pair and in the next four years they raised five youngsters.

“They were together until 2010 when Flag left him for another fellah,” said Alan.

In 2011 Red Phillip met another mate, Swift, and they reared four chicks before they split up in 2013.

Last year Red Phillip - by now a grandfather - teamed up with Scar, a female kite who had been born in Yorkshire. and they raised two offspring.

“We released him close to where he had been seen with Scar and we hope he has not been usurped by some whipper snapper,” said Alan.

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