Soaring raptors of whatever species are so beautiful to watch, especially when the sun glints on them. Only in the past decade and a half has this been seen here in the south east of England with the return to us of the red kite, milvus milvus, through reintroduction from Spain and Sweden. Hundreds of years ago this species was invaluable as flocks of them cleaned up the food littered streets of London. Eventually ungrateful Londoners killed them all in the eighteen hundreds. When conservationists decided to reintroduce them in 1989 we could not have guessed how successful this would turn out to be. This spring, for example, whole flocks of kites have been following the ploughs here in the chllterns to gather worms etc for their chicks – a sight unseen in living memory. A magnificent new dimension to the modern landscape when we now have the sense to cherish them.
My son and I fell in love with those turkey vultures flying over Shenandoah National Park back in 2008. In Ontario, they are a sure sign of telling us that spring has finally set in. Their wobbly flights differentiate them from hawks and eagles.